Meet­ing stand-in un­der fire at hear­ings

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - BERNADETTE WOL­HUTER

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.

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