Willies Mchunu. Picture: SUPPLIED
Willies Mchunu. Picture: SUPPLIED

A forensic investigation into tender fraud in the office of KwaZulu-Natal premier, Willies Mchunu, has revealed how a personal assistant (PA) and an administrative clerk dished out tenders worth almost R23m to five companies with the knowledge of their superiors.

The report‚ dated March 18 2017, and which has been submitted to Mchunu‚ shows that between 2012 and 2016, the two employees processed most of the transactions where suppliers were awarded tenders. They did so with the knowledge of the chief financial officer.

This largely happened under the watch of former KwaZulu-Natal premier, Senzo Mchunu‚ who was in office between 2013 and 2016 — but the report doesn’t indicate whether he‚ or any prior or future premier‚ was at fault.

The investigation conducted by the internal audit unit found that one catering company was awarded 59 orders worth R7.9m between 2013 and 2016. It also found that two companies were awarded contracts worth more than R16m as a result of cover quoting. The PA also awarded a tender worth R517‚050 to a company owned by her uncle, who lived with her. She nominated‚ invited and evaluated quotations from the company without disclosing the relationship.

The report is highly critical of the chief financial officer’s role in the irregular transactions, which‚ it says‚ makes him liable to be charged with financial misconduct.

It has recommended that the accounting officer in current premier, Willies Mchunu’s, office report a case of fraud and corruption with the police for further investigation and criminal prosecution. It has also recommended that the accounting officer place those implicated on suspension during the criminal investigation and that a process to recover funds lost be initiated.

The investigation was triggered by an anonymous letter requesting a full investigation into the conduct of the supply chain management and asset management leadership in the premier’s office. The whistleblower said there was no segregation of duties and the PA to the supply chain manager was doing all the work supposed to be done by the supply chain practitioners.

"The non-implementation of segregation of duties is not as a result of the supply chain management unit being short staffed‚ but rather a deliberate manipulation of the supply chain management processes with the intention of committing fraud‚" wrote the whistleblower.

The whistleblower also complained about non-rotation of service providers‚ saying a single supplier was used in all the last financial year’s events; repetitive use of one service provider; and a high level of cover quoting.

The investigation found that the PA and the clerk consistently disregarded the segregation of duties required in the procurement of goods, in that they carried out the nomination‚ invitation and evaluation of quotations of transactions under review.

Willie Mchunu’s spokesperson Ndabezinhle Sibiya said an official statement would be released soon as this was an urgent matter.

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