File image: IOL
The MEC for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Maruping Lekwene, has reiterated the department’s stance on the controversial tender for the Kimberley Diamond Cup (KDC).

The DA alleges that there was “a serious violation of tender procedures” that took place through a “network of political patronage” when the R90 million tender was awarded for the events management of the KDC.

Lekwene said that if anyone has any concrete proof of any wrongdoing they need to bring it to the department. 

“We are firm on the issue that we will not tolerate any form of corruption. If anybody has proof, we are more than willing to engage with them,” Lekwene said at the official launch of the KDC on Friday.

The DA is alleging that the contract for the festival “powered by FISE” and HRA Trading is “unlawful and the tender needs to be re-advertised”.

Lekwene went on to reiterate that the department does not have any contractual relationship with FISE Africa and does not have any information on its owners and/or directors.

Lekwene challenged not only the DA but anyone to provide the department with “concrete evidence” that could link officials from the department with the tender.

The DA provincial spokesperson for Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, Boitumelo Babuseng, claimed that, according to the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)’s database, the sole director of FISE Africa is a close family member of an official at the Department of Finance, Economic Affairs and Tourism, who also sits on the department’s bid adjudication committee.

“This official must be suspended pending a forensic investigation,” Babusneg said.

He added that the tender was awarded to HRA Trading 336 days after the tender was advertised in 2018.

“HRA Trading was registered in 2015. The R90 million tender was awarded to HRA Trading on May 17, 2019. On May 30, 2019 a new company was registered - FISE Africa - in the name of the director, Komalin Packirisamy.”

The DA claimed that both companies lacked experience in organising an event of this magnitude.

DFA