Irregular Bidding Process Puts Deloitte in Hot Seat
Accounting firm Deloitte has been implicated in allegations of irregular bidding process hounding the former executive of the Transport, Education and Training Authority (TETA) in South Africa.
The allegations came during the height of criminal charges faced by former TETA chief Piet Bothma who was tagged in the Fidentia scandal involving misappropriated investment funds of R200 million.
Bothma allegedly received R4.6 million in illegal payments from Fidentia. When the scandal broke out in 2007, the amount imploded. So far, curators have recovered about R26.2 million of the misappropriated funds.
Meanwhile, TETA chief executive officer Maphefo Matlala and three senior officials are now facing charges of irregular conduct filed by Secomoco Sibambato, the corporate services manager in charge of human resources, procurement, corporate affairs and marketing.
Sibambato claimed that the four executives of Mogomotsi Kgantsi and acting chief financial officer Thokozani Kubheka have irregularly awarded tenders to Deloitte, violating the internal procurement regulations of the Treasury in the Public Finance Management Act.
In a complaint she filed with the Office of the Public Protector in Joburg last month, Sibambato claimed that TETA awarded a tender in 2009 to Deloitte for IT services through a closed bidding process. The Treasury and a procurement consultant said that the bidding process should have been open to the public.
Sibambato also alleged a conflict of interest on the part of Kubheka, a Deloitte consultant to TETA who facilitated the procurement process in August 2010.
Moreover, there was no advertisement made in relation to the tenders, nor did TETA seek quotes from other bidders. It is understood that a “motivation letter” was used by TETA to veer from the set bidding process.
TETA chairperson June Dube ordered an internal forensic investigation into the issue.
Dube said in a statement: “The board notes with concern that allegations of impropriety were only made after the dismissal of the employee in question. Furthermore, these allegations were submitted directly to the minister without following established procedures.”
In March 2011, Sibambato was axed following allegations of failure to ensure payments to five employees of TETA. But she denied the accusations, saying they were “trumped up” to forcefully evict her.
Simbabato further claimed that Matlata tried to interfere into the procurement process by volunteering to participate in the search for a candidate preferably from the Road Transport Management Corporation (RTMC).
Sibambato said in a statement: “She held a meeting with a person from RTMC, with Mr Mogomotsi Kgantsi and the acting procurement officer without me, as the head of the unit, knowing or being aware.”
Sandile Gwala, a Deloitte director, said: “We take all allegations of this nature very seriously and have investigated them in detail. Our investigations of the allegations relating to Deloitte show that [Sibambato's] allegations are either totally false and devoid of any truth, or fail to substantiate any misconduct, irregularity or unlawful actions.”