Meeting stand-in under fire at hearings
JAYSHREE Pardesi was never supposed to be on the committee that signed off on a dodgy multimillion-rand tender for work on President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla home.
At the last minute, her boss asked her to stand in for him for the June 2010 meeting.
Now seven years later, she risks losing her job for the decisions she made that day.
Over the past several months, the internal disciplinary hearings of a number of Public Works officials implicated in the awarding of contracts for upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla home, have been postponed several times.
But yesterday, Pardesi’s finally got going.
Pardesi was part of the Regional Bid Adjudication Committee (RBAC) that met on June 15, 2010 and appointed contractor Money Mine 310 CC to carry out work on phase 1 of the Nkandla upgrades.
Pardesi is charged with misconduct for awarding Money Mine the contract through a “negotiated procurement strategy”, which meant that it was the only company approached to do the work and – according to the department – the contract was not awarded following the normal open and fair tender process.
Pardesi has pleaded not guilty.
At the time of her alleged misconduct, Pardesi was an assistant director at the department in KwaZulu-Natal.
Chief forensic investigator Christian Legwabe, testified on behalf of the department.
He was tasked specifically with handling Money Mine, investigating the documents relating to the company and identifying any signs of corruption or fraud.
He said Pardesi was not even supposed to be on the adjudication committee on the day the contract was signed off.
Pardesi’s attorney, Adrian Moodley, said yesterday he would prove that her client had the required authority to approve the negotiated strategies in terms of the contract and the department had received value for the work that was done. “It was not fruitless or wasteful expenditure.”
The hearing continues today, when Legwabe is expected to be cross-examined.