N Cape leases awarded fairly: official

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iol news pic Trifecta Kimberley

SAPA

Cellphone image of Northern Cape ANC leader John Block (R) on trial for fraud and corruption in the Northern Cape High Court.

Kimberley - A senior government official confirmed that her supply chain unit in the Northern Cape social development department acted openly and fairly with leases, the Kimberley High Court heard on Wednesday.

Judge Mathebe Phatshoane was hearing evidence in a fraud and corruption case against Northern Cape ANC heavyweights John Block, Alvin Botes, Yolanda Botha, and Trifecta director Christo Scholtz.

The National Prosecuting Authority accused the Trifecta Group of entering into a number of lease agreements with the Northern Cape department in which rentals, or rental space, were grossly inflated.

The accused have all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them or their companies.

Daleen Vosloo, former senior manager of supply chain management at the department, testified of various Trifecta leases with which she was involved.

“The department at all relevant times acted open and fair in the acquisition of office space. I can see that from the evidence,” said Jaap Cilliers, legal counsel of Scholtz, during cross-examination.

Vosloo replied: “Yes.”

Cilliers wanted to know whether anybody at any time attempted to improperly influence her to act illegally.

“No”, she said.

Earlier, Vosloo testified there was a huge scarcity of suitable office space in the Northern Cape.

It affected the state departments as well as the private sector.

“It would be acceptable to look for longer-term leases,” Cilliers submitted.

Vosloo confirmed his statement.

Cilliers added no state department wanted to be out on the street after a five-year lease expired.

“It is total chaos if a big department has to move offices,” he said.

Vosloo testified to reasons why, in many of the lease agreements, the department deviated from the prescribed tender procedures.

The court heard at various times the deviations were authorised by the departmental tender board, of which Vosloo was a member, owing to urgency and practical reasons to get office space.

The case continues.

Sapa


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