SIU defends probe into R185m SABC security tender
Johannesburg - The Special Investigative Unit on Thursday said its investigation into the R185 million security tender at the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was above board and didn't target the former interim board at the public broadcaster led by Khanyisile Kweyama.
This followed the former board's decision this week to have the report reviewed in court.
"We have noted that some of the reports are damagingly misleading to the public. The SIU findings relating to the former interim board members are based on evidence gathered and members of the former interim board are affected for no other reason other than that they constituted the SABC accounting authority," the organisation said in a statement.
The former interim board, led by ex-chairwoman Kweyama, on Tuesday slammed the report saying it was factually wrong and contained errors. Kweyama, accompanied by ex-board members Mathatha Tsedu, Krish Naidoo, Febe Potgieter-Gqubule and John Matisson told reporters it was themselves who requested the SIU to probe the security tender after whistleblowers alleged irregularities in the bidding process, and were surprised to discover that the SIU didn't consider the whistleblowers' information during the investigation.
"Every decision we took was based on legal advice from the SABC. We worked tirelessly to save the SABC and succeeded in cutting losses by R500 million. All five members who served on board are proud of our performance and will defend our reputations vigorously to the full extent of the law. We found it curious that of all SABC cases referred to the SIU by the interim board, this is the only matter in which the SIU recommends criminal action," Kweyama said on Tuesday.
The SIU probe found wrongdoing by the board for appointing Mafoko Security Patrols, a losing bidder instead of Mjayeli. It found that the board members failed to act in the interests of the SABC by awarding the R185 million tender to Mafoko. The investigation found that the bidding committee was irregularly constituted while the board committed financial misconduct and contravened the PFMA (Public Finance Management Act). The report recommended criminal charges against the board and certain executives.
The SIU said three of four SABC executives are yet to be charged with fraud and corruption. Former executive Sully Motsweni, who has since been fired, has been charged. A total of 9 criminal matters arising from the tender probe have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority, said the SIU.
"In view of the above, it is therefore incorrect to say criminal referrals based on the PFMA infractions were made only against the members of the former interim board. In view of the litigation the SIU will exercise restraint on this matter. Further details would be presented in court as required."
The interim board was appointed in April 2017 until March 2018. The members resigned one after the other as the tender scandal raged at the cash-strapped public broadcaster last year.
African News Agency (ANA)