Johannesburg - Two top executives at the State Information Technology Agency (Sita) recommended payment to a company without a formal contract signed between the firm and the entity. This was despite the company not completing its duties.
The alleged misconduct is revealed in a PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) audit report into the awarding of a R1.3 million contract to Lefa Consortium.
The officials fingered in the irregular payment are former supply chain management executive Thenjiwe Mjoli and acting chief executive officer Johnson Dyodo.
The contract, which was awarded in May 2011, was for the supply chain management staff augmentation.
“Lefa had received two payments from Sita with a total of R1.36 million without concluding a contract with Sita, which amounted to fruitless and wasteful expenditure. It was irregular for Sita to effect the payment to Lefa without concluding a contract with them,” the PWC report states.
The report is damning of both Mjoli and Dyodo.
“She (Mjoli) personally conducted an evaluation of the received bid responses… without complying with Sita’s supply chain management policy. She permitted Lefa Consortium to commence work without concluding a contract with Sita, which was the condition of the consortium award,” the report reads.
The report also says Mjoli purported to have been given authority to sign the contract when this was actually not the case.
“She approved payment of R1.3m to Lefa without Sita having entered into a contract with Lefa Consortium, and signed a settlement agreement on behalf of Sita, where she was not authorised to do so.”
PwC also found that Lefa had misrepresented itself when it submitted the bid documents, and failed to meet its contractual obligations by missing deadlines.
The report further shows that Lefa inflated the quotes by submitting claims for work it had not done.
“An invoice lists cases that Lefa Consortium claimed… some cases were confirmed as never completed by Lefa Consortium.”
Regarding Dyodo’s alleged misconduct, the report says: “He motivated for payment for services rendered by Lefa Consortium to Sita knowing that Lefa had not concluded a contract with Sita
“Lefa received payment from Sita without concluding a contract with Sita. It was irregular for Sita to effect payment to Lefa without concluding a contract with them.”
Mjoli denied any wrongdoing and insisted that the contractor had met its contractual duties.
“Lefa was appointed following a tender that was published and approved by Sita’s tender committee, which was per process,” she said.
“As for the payments, these were verified by the respective teams who worked with Lefa and confirmed that services were indeed rendered before any approval was done.
“It should be noted that no charges were brought forward following the alleged investigation and so there really was no issue there.”
Dyodo said: “I never awarded contracts to Lefa and I never approved any payment. No report that I am aware of... made the allegations mentioned. I was never charged and nobody ever said I did something wrong.”
Sita spokeswoman Jeanny Morulane said the organisation had “acted decisively against employees who have been found (guilty) of corrupt practices”.
“They have been suspended and/or ultimately dismissed, depending on the outcome of the respective cases. In cases where fraudulent activity has taken place, these are referred to the applicable and related law enforcement agencies.”
The Star phoned Andries Khumalo, who is listed as a Lefa Consortium director.
He refused to comment and handed over the cellphone to a Pat Nhlaluwe.
She denied that the company had a contract with Sita.
“Lefa did not have a contract with anyone and we never received any payment,” she said.
Nhlaluwe asked to be called back after 30 minutes, saying she was driving, before hanging up.
Contacted later, the phone rang unanswered. Nhlaluwe did not respond to any of the SMSes left by The Star.