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ECDC BOARD MEMBER AND OFFICIAL DISCUSSED SPLITTING CONTRACTS, USING LOCAL ADDRESS, RECORDING REVEALS
THE bedroom and the boardroom collided horribly for an Eastern Cape chartered accountant who was caught on tape trying to cheat the Eastern Cape Development Corporation’s (ECDC) procurement process so that her lover could get lucrative business.
Pamela Bosman, a director on the ECDC board and chairwoman of its audit, risk and compliance (ARC) committee, was trapped on tape in the act of corruption, apparently inadvertently, by the ECDC acting company secretary, Frank Botha.
Botha happened to leave a recording device running after an ECDC meeting had been adjourned in April 2017.
In the conversation, which was transcribed and presented as court evidence, Bosman is heard plotting with the ECDC’s strategic projects executive manager Babini Melitafa to get her lover, a man known only as Mandla, of Mandla Electrical, two tenders out of the ECDC.
The recording, which illustrates how corruption is carefully stitched together, was a critical piece of evidence which led to East London high court Judge John Smith coming down heavily on Bosman’s behaviour this week.
He was ruling in the civil court battle between the ECDC and Bosman. Bosman had applied to the high court to have her dismissal last year from ECDC board reviewed and overturned.
In his judgment tabled this week, Smith said the recording “reveals compelling evidence that [Bosman] conspired with Melitafa to unlawfully and dishonestly circumvent ECDC’s procurement rules and procedures, with the intention of ensuring [Bosman’s] life partner would illegally benefit financially”.
Smith dismissed with costs Bosman’s application to set aside the ECDC’s decision to fire her on August 11 2107 as chairwoman of the institution’s ARC committee.
Smith also ruled Bosman be “disqualified” from serving as a director at ECDC.
The ECDC, in its response, argued that Bosman had “committed serious breaches of her fiduciary duties and responsibilities as director at ECDC”.
The ECDC said she did this by placing herself in a position where her personal interests were in conflict with her duty to act in the best interests of the ECDC.
Among breaches of duty raised by the corporation, was that Bosman was;
●Personally involved, as a chartered accountant and chairwoman of Lumako chartered accountants in advising FTC Engineering, trading as Time Marine Shipyard, on how to get a R19.1-million loan from the ECDC. She had charged FTC monthly fees for her services;
●That she had an intimate relationship with Mandla, an owner of a KwaZulu-Natalbased company, Mandla Electrical, which benefited from contracts awarded to the (FTC);
●In the taped discussion with Melitafa, she sought ways to circumvent ECDC’s procurement processes and procedures “in order for her lover to benefit unlawfully as a sub-contractor in two projects managed by ECDC” – the Makana sanitation project and the refurbishment of Mthatha Garden Court Hotel.
According to Smith’s judgement, the recording was made after the conclusion of an ARC committee meeting chaired by Bosman on April 19 2017.
Smith said ECDC’s acting secretary Frank Botha “had left the recording device which he had used to record proceedings of the meeting in the room where the meeting took place. When Botha subsequently listened to the recording in order to prepare the minutes of the meeting, he became aware that the device had also inadvertently recorded a discussion which took place between [Bosman] and Melitafa after the meeting.
“Botha subsequently arranged for the recording to be transcribed. The transcription evinces blatant and improper attempts by [Bosman] to enlist Melitafa’s assistance in helping secure Mandla Electrical’s appointment in two contracts ECDC was engaged in at the time,” said Smith.
Smith found that Bosman and Melitafa “had agreed improperly to split the contracts so as to overcome the fact that her partner’s company’s CIDB rating was below that required by tender specifications”.
During the secret conversation Melitafa also suggested that Mandla’s company “must use an Eastern Cape address to overcome difficulty presented by fact that it was based in KZN”, Smith said.
“The transcript thus reveals compelling evidence that [Bosman] and Melitafa conspired unlawfully and dishonesty to circumvent ECDC’s procurement rules and procedures with intention of ensuring that [Bosman’s] life partner would benefit financially”.
Smith said Bosman had denied “having engaged or having partaken” in the conversation with Melitafa, a denial Smith described as “vague, improbable and uncreditworthy”.
Smith further said Bosman’s conflicts of interest , “were deliberate, flagrant and lacked the requisite degree of honesty, integrity and objectivity required of a director. In my view, [Bosman] has been deliberately vague in her answering affidavit, and has attempted at all costs to obfuscate issues and to evade unequivocal responses to allegations of serious misconduct. Her responses to these allegations were accordingly evasive and deliberately ambiguous.”
In the case, Bosman argued that she was fired after she had refused to rubberstamp ECDC’s alleged wasteful expenditure of R12-million.
●In an annexure to the court papers, a letter from the ECDC stated that Melitafa was put before a disciplinary hearing for his role in the matter, but it was not clear at the time of writing yesterday what transpired from that process as ECDC CEO Ndzondelelo Dlulane could not be reached for comment. —
LOST CASE: Pamela Bosman has lost an application to set aside a decision to fire her from ECDC committee