The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has weighed in on the Ndhuna Civil Engineering Services’ controversial R134 million Khunotswana contract.
It has requested all documents related to the tender as part of a planned investigation into fraud and corruption in the North West.
In a letter sent to Vuisile Joba Dliso, the chairperson of the North West Legislature’s Provincial Public Accounts Committee (PPAC), the SIU in the province requested copies of all records submitted to the committee by the North West Department of Public Works and Roads.
Sources said a similar correspondence was also sent to Kgantsi, implicated in the alleged tender fraud and corruption.
Last week, Dliso ordered Public Works and Roads MEC Saliva Gaoage Molapisi and the head of department (HOD) Moss Kgantsi, to surrender all documents concerning the contract for the refurbishment of a road at Khunotswana village in Zeerust, as well as other tenders issued to Ndhuna Civils, owned by businessman Oberon Matsuvuki.
He also summoned them to appear before the PPAC and the public works portfolio committee, chaired by Mmoloki Cwaile, for joint public hearings into the Ndhuna tender on Thursday, June 20.
The following day, the SIU in the province requested Dliso to share the documents, saying it was acting on information sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa by an unnamed whistle-blower.
Israel Ndou, the head of the SIU in the North West, said in his letter that Ramaphosa forwarded the matter to the Department of Justice, which referred it to the SIU.
Noting that the unit was aware that the department appeared before the PPAC and the public works portfolio committee, Ndou said:
“It is against this background that the SIU, in its efforts to fight fraud and malfeasance in the public sector, requests information that was submitted by the department or any information you have knowledge on and or documents which will assist the SIU to motivate for proclamation by the President of the Republic of South Africa to probe this matter further.”
Ndou urged Dliso to hand over the documents to the SIU’s Ramaleba Dieta by July 28, 2023.
He also clarified that the unit’s request had nothing to do with an internal investigation ordered by Molapisi two weeks ago, which confirmed that Matsuvuki was awarded the multi-million tender despite abandoning projects in the past.
“Kindly take note that the request does not depend on any internal investigation the department has already instituted with regard to this matter,” Ndou added in his letter, dated July 21.
African Times has established that the whistle-blower in the matter is James Gadinabokao, the president of GATVOL, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) at the forefront of fighting corruption and fraud in the North West.
Gadinabokao confirmed this, saying GATVOL was concerned about rampant corruption and fraud in the province.
“We are happy that the Office of the President responded with the speed that we were not even expecting. We want to assure the Office of the President that it’s not only at Public Works where there is corruption happening. From there, we go to [the Department of] Human Settlements, we go to [the] Department of Education, we go to the Office of the Premier. At [the] municipal level, we go to the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati,” Gadinabokao said.
The businessman also appealed for “the highest level of protection and security” from the Ramaphosa administration, saying whistle-blowers were targeted and killed in the country.
Matshube Mfoloe, the North West Department of Public Works and Roads spokesperson, confirmed that they “received correspondence to that effect from the independent statutory body, Special Investigating Unit (SIU), on Friday, July 22”.
“We will not only cooperate, it [the department] will cooperate fully, with the SIU and oblige and avail whatever information and or request they make, including documents,” Mfoloe said.
Mfoloe further claimed that the SIU intervention was “perfect timing” because the department had already “confirmed appointing its own forensic investigation”.
“So there are more hands on deck now, which is a big plus. Our thinking does not differ from the SIU mandate as prescribed. Its primary mandate is to investigate serious allegations of corruption, malpractice and maladministration in the administration of State institutions, State assets and public money, as well as any conduct which may seriously harm the interests of the public, and to recover any financial losses suffered by State institutions through civil ligation,” he added.