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Co-operate with FBI tender probe - DA

Dec 06 2012 07:58 Sapa

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Johannesburg - The DA on Wednesday called on Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini to work with the FBI in its probe into the department's awarding of a social grant tender. 

"I will... request that she and her department give their full co-operation to the FBI in their inquiry into the R10bn tender for the administration of social grants awarded to Cash Paymaster Systems (CPS)," the party's Mike Waters said in a statement. 

CPS is a subsidiary of US company Net1 UEPS.

 Net1, through CPS, manages and distributes social grants in South Africa. It was awarded the tender by the SA Social Security Agency (Sassa) in January this year. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into whether Net1 violated United States federal criminal laws by engaging in a scheme to bribe local officials in connection with the tender. 

The social grants tender had been marred by controversy, said Waters. 

"In April this year, reports revealed that human settlements director general Thabane Zulu, who is a member of the Sassa tender adjudication committee, received a R1.4m deposit into his personal account a few weeks before deliberations on the bid commenced." 

Another committee member received a R600 000 payment towards his bond soon after the contract was awarded to CPS. 

"Furthermore the involvement of President Jacob Zuma's lawyer Michael Hulley raised questions when he was brought in by Sassa as a ‘strategic adviser' for the bid." 

Key tender requirements were changed nine days before applications for the tender closed. 

In August this year, Judge Elias Matojane in the High Court in Pretoria declared the tender illegal and invalid, but it was not set aside. 

Absa subsidiary AllPay challenged the awarding of the tender in court, alleging widespread corruption and irregularities. 

"I have already written to the Public Protector (Thuli Madonsela) to investigate the awarding of the tender. I will now request that she shares her findings with the US department of justice and the FBI." 

Department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said they had not had any communication from the FBI regarding the investigation.

 
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