Acsa found guilty of R544m irregular expenditure

26 November 2018 - 06:51 By Zingisa Mvumvu
Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu says Acsa unilaterally extended contracts without proper procedures, while other companies were paid without the existence of valid contracts.
Auditor-general Kimi Makwetu says Acsa unilaterally extended contracts without proper procedures, while other companies were paid without the existence of valid contracts.  
Image: Business Day

The Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) failed to produce documentation related to procurement amounting to R544m. Now the auditor-general has declared the spending irregular.

Among the companies that benefited was controversial firm Bosasa Security, which received three payments amounting to R3m without any documentation showing that its contract had been extended.

Another security company, G4S, was red-flagged for five payments amounting to more than R6m, while Kwenda Marketing scored R4m.  

The three companies were the biggest beneficiaries in what the auditor-general’s office identified as 26 payments that were made without purchase order numbers. There were other payments recorded that the AG concluded were irregular, which take the figure up to R544m.

According to the AG, Acsa could not produce supporting documents and unilaterally extended contracts without proper procedures, while others were paid without the existence of a valid contract.  

The Bosasa payments that were extended without the necessary authorisation were for security contracts at Cape Town International Airport and Bram Fischer Airport in Mangaung.

The same modus operandi was repeated with payments to G4S. In one instance, Acsa paid Growthpoint Properties R2.5m, but the AG concluded that there was no existing contract between the two parties.

For Kwenda, four payments were done through direct capture of payment. Acsa informed the AG that this was done for emergency purposes, but the AG could not find evidence to support this.

“Emergency procedure is a process of sourcing which has to be undertaken on an emergency basis as a result of unforeseen circumstances that may result in Acsa’s reputational damage, critical damage to infrastructure, injury, loss of life, financial losses or environmental harm.”

The National Bid Adjudication Committee has slammed Acsa for making a R14m payment to Kwenda without the existence of a valid contract.

“The committee expressed concern as to why SCM process was not followed by business development in the period from February - May 2018… further expresses concern that [Acsa Marketing] made a decision to continue with the incumbent service provider notwithstanding the absence of a valid contract.”

Kwenda’s contract with Acsa expired in July 2017, but the airports’ company failed more than four times to elect a replacement from those that tendered.

The first tender to replace Kwenda was declared a non-award by the adjudication committee after it found its scope was structured to favour Kwenda.

Acsa spokesperson Hulisani Rasivhanga said documentary evidence for the irregular payments had gone missing.

“It can be confirmed that the vast majority of irregular expenditure was as a result of non-compliance with procurement processes,” she said. 

“More than 60% of this figure was due to inability to produce documentary evidence of compliance with the procurement processes. This was due to the unavailability of some documentation. 

“In most instances, this is due to historical awards to service providers where not all documentation was retained as per the current requirements. Thus full compliance cannot be proven.”

In respect of the Bosasa and G4S payments, Rasivhanga said there was nothing untoward on the part of Acsa.

“These were regarded as irregular payments due to the extensions not having been approved by the appropriate delegated body. In this case, the bid adjudication committee approved extensions of three months, however [these extensions] required approval of the executive committee which was not obtained. It was an oversight mishap,” said Rasivhanga.  

Acsa said the highlighted companies did not receive preferential treatment “as the details of each finding reveals different root causes”.