City tender deemed dodgy by auditors

22 November 2010 - 03:25 By CHARLES MOLELE
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A company linked to controversial businessman Sandile Majali has been fingered in a damning forensic audit report on a bid for a City of Tshwane contract.

The company, Omega Risk Solutions, recently took the metro to court for awarding a R122-million tender for a closed-circuit television system to rival company, Morubisi Technologies.

Majali's Imvume Resources, which is currently in liquidation, bought a 25% stake in Omega Risk Solutions two years ago.

Court action is under way to claim the stake for Imvume's creditors, but Omega contests that the acquisition was finalised.

Majali hit the headlines when Imvume was given an oil procurement contract by PetroSA and immediately donated much of an R11-million advance to the ANC to help it fight the 2004 election.

In papers before the Pretoria High Court this week, Omega Risk Solutions claimed the Tshwane authorities acted in bad faith when awarding the tender for the CCTV system, which would be part of the Pretoria security network that protects government leaders, visiting heads of state, diplomats, tourists and the public. The case will be heard on March 14.

The disputed tender is under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit.

A confidential audit report compiled by Gobodo Inc says Omega Risk Solutions' bid was rejected because it did not comply with the tender conditions and misrepresented facts to influence the awarding of the tender.

The report says Omega Risk Solutions listed Thys le Grange, group executive of technology at the separately listed Omega Technology Solutions, as the contact person for the tender.

"It could well be that Omega Risk Solutions submits the tender as it has a better BEE rating than Omega Technology Solutions - and that Omega Technology Solutions will be, in effect, the entity rendering the services. It appears then that Le Grange gave most of the input in the tender, and appears to be the person with knowledge of the industry," Gobodo says.

"Further information may reveal possible corrupt dealings between certain officials of the City of Tshwane and Omega Risk Solutions" which might have given the company an unfair advantage in other deals with the metro, the report says.

It alleges that Japie Lerm, an employee of the City of Tshwane, enjoyed a close business relationship with Omega's Le Grange and that their wives were in business together.

Lerm and 14 other officials were suspended on Friday pending investigation of tender fraud alleged in a forensic investigation commissioned by acting city manager Oupa Nkoane.

Approached for comment, Omega's managing director, Alex de Wit, denied the allegations against his company and said the tender was incorrectly awarded to Morubisi.

"An independent third party, Techso, found that Morubisi's bid was non-compliant, non-responsive and under-priced in material respects. Yet this consideration was omitted from the recommendations and does not appear to have been placed before the evaluation and adjudication committees," he said.

Gobodo has disputed Techso's independence, saying it was appointed irregularly by Lerm.

De Wit rejected allegations of fronting against his company, saying both Omega Risk Solutions and Omega Technology Solutions were subsidiaries of Omega International Associates, but that the business of Omega Technology Solutions had been integrated into that of Omega Risk Solutions.

He said the formalities pertaining to the transfer of Omega shares to Majali's Imvume were not finalised because of alleged misconduct by Imvume in the oil-for-food deal with Iraq.

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