EC tender 'irregular' - AG

2010-08-26 20:09

Johannesburg - The Auditor General has found gross irregularities in the awarding of an Eastern Cape fleet procurement tender, the provincial transport and finance portfolio committee said on Thursday.

These could result in legal action being instituted against the department, the committee said in a statement.

The AG found that bidders contending for the contract did not comply with the technical evaluation of the bid.

"The AG attributes this to poor quality of reporting and inefficient advice by the transaction adviser, who failed to ensure that scores were properly recorded for all members of the special bid evaluation committee," the committee said.

"The AG also found that the special bid evaluation committee failed to assess the outcomes of the scoring process, thus did not address inconsistencies," it said.

Transport portfolio chairperson Mxolisi Nqata said such "inconsistencies" might have amounted to "unfairness" against other bidders.

He asked why a bidder, which took the transport department to court, chose to settle out of court. "As the committee, we believe it necessary that the department should address us on how the decision to settle out of court was reached."

"It should not be easy for departments to mislead the legislature oversight committees under oath," he said.

DA probe

Nqata said the committee would summon the department to a joint sitting to account for the findings.

"We have to institute action against the department and have a way of legally recovering irregular expenses incurred by through these irregular tendering processes," he said.

The Democratic Alliance in the province also called for an investigation.

The department had to explain why it assured the joint committee that the process was correctly followed when it was not.

"While the irregularities appear to be simple oversights, the question must be asked why this was overlooked by the responsible officials in the department of transport," said DA Eastern Cape transport spokesperson Dacre Haddon.

"The DA this morning (Thursday) asked for an investigation surrounding the conduct of the transaction adviser.

"The committee has also decided to interrogate the MEC and all officials involved, to ascertain whether there was any criminality or negligence and whether monies should be paid back," Haddon said.