National Treasury called to probe Prasa tenders

National Treasury called to probe Prasa tenders

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has requested the National Treasury to probe all Prasa tenders above R10 million, dating back to 2012.


"We did speak to Treasury and they will be coming to assist," Madonsela said in Pretoria while releasing her "Derailed" report following an investigation into the Passenger Rail Agency of SA.


"In consultation with the Prasa board, the National Treasury's chief procurement officer (should) consider commissioning a forensic investigation on all Prasa contracts or tenders valued above R10 million issued between April 1 2012 and June 30 2015."


She said the terms of reference of the forensic investigation are to be approved by her office and an examination should be focused on all suspected or alleged corrupt relationships.


"The Public Protector to be kept abreast of the progress of the investigation and favoured with the final report," said Madonsela.


After making numerous adverse findings, including maladministration, abuse of power and financial mismanagement against PRASA and former chief executive Lucky Montana, Madonsela on Monday urged Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to act.


"The minister of transport [is] to ensure that the Prasa board considers the acts of maladministration and improper conduct referred to in this report and take appropriate disciplinary [action] against the officials of Prasa in respect of their conduct referred to therein," Madonsela said.


She also urged Prasa board chairman Popo Molefe to evaluate the effectiveness of Prasa's internal controls on supply chain and human resources management "to identify systematic deficiencies with a view to take corrective action to prevent a recurrence of the improprieties referred to in this report".


"The Prasa board (should) report to the National Treasury and the Auditor-General particulars of the alleged financial misconduct and the steps taken in connection with such financial misconduct, as contemplated in section 85 of the Public Finance Management Act," said Madonsela.


She said the report released on Monday would be followed by another one.


"The second report has also been necessitated by further allegations of financial impropriety, corruption and tender irregularities at Prasa, which came too late to be investigated and incorporated into this report (Derailed).


The Prasa investigation followed 37 complaints lodged by the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union in 2012. The complaints were later pursued by the National Transport Movement.


Madonsela said she had significant difficulty in getting cooperation during her investigations.


"I must record that the investigation team and I had immense difficulty piecing together the truth as information had to be clawed out of Prasa management. When information was eventually provided, it came in drips and drabs and was incomplete," said Madonsela.


She said this happened despite the fact that she used a subpoena issued in terms of section 7 of the Public Protector Act. Many of the documents and other pieces of information requested for the investigation are still outstanding.


"I must also indicate that the authenticity of many of the documents submitted by Prasa management as evidence, principally relating to procurement, is doubtful. Many of the memoranda for approval of tenders and related documents submitted by Prasa management were undated, unsigned and - at least in one case - incomplete," said Madonsela.



File photo: Gallo Images


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