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ECDC BOARD MEM­BER AND OF­FI­CIAL DIS­CUSSED SPLIT­TING CON­TRACTS, US­ING LO­CAL AD­DRESS, RECORD­ING RE­VEALS

Daily Dispatch - - FRONT PAGE - By ASANDA NINI Se­nior Re­porter asan­[email protected]­patch.co.za

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. —

Pic­ture: FACEBOOK

LOST CASE: Pamela Bos­man has lost an ap­pli­ca­tion to set aside a de­ci­sion to fire her from ECDC com­mit­tee

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