The Pikitup board has decided to take action in the irregular R260-million three-year tender awarded to Aqua Transport and Plant Hire, a company which had previous negative findings against it in a forensic investigation. The board is said to be instituting disciplinary procedures against Pikitup MD Amanda Nair for her part in the dubious deal.
Corruption Watch has reported before on the unsavoury goings-on at Pikitup. In June 2013 we revealed that audit firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young) was appointed in June 2011 to conduct a forensic probe into allegations of tender rigging at the state-owned waste utility. EY was paid R6-million for its services.
The EY probe revealed, among other irregularities, a conflict of interest by the utility’s former CEO Zami Nkosi. He resigned in 2011 before the forensic investigation commenced, according to Pikitup, and is now the CEO of the Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa.
The report also revealed abuse of power and violations of Treasury rules and municipal finance laws.
In June 2013 Corruption Watch wrote to Nair asking for information regarding the Aqua contract – Nair has never responded.
The correspondence from Corruption Watch questioned why Pikitup engaged the services of Aqua amidst prior allegations of irregularities on the part of Aqua dating back to 2010.
Corruption Watch asked Nair to clarify the following:
- whether or not there were indeed negative findings against Pikitup and Aqua after the awarding of the 2010 contract;
- the reason for the awarding of a subsequent tender to Aqua, if the previous one was irregular;
- what steps were taken against Aqua for its transgressions in the 2010 contract; and
- what steps were taken against the Pikitup employees who were responsible for the irregular expenditure, Nkosi included.
Download a pdf copy of the Corruption letter.
For a while it seemed that the EY report would simply remain unactioned upon. But now media reports say that Nair may yet be held accountable for the irregularities, as the Pikitup board is about to commence with disciplinary action against her.
In September 2013 the board issued a statement assuring the public that it “is resolute in its quest to ensure good governance and a well run state institution of the highest integrity” – this was with particular respect to the awarding of the Aqua tender.
“The Board will take further action that is necessary to ensure that it promotes compliance with the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) and relevant regulatory frameworks”, the statement said.