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25 February 2011 | Angeline
procurement process behind a lease agreement for South Africa’s new police
headquarters in Pretoria was illegal.
findings of a probe by the government’s Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into a R500 million (£44
million) lease agreement signed by the NationalDepartment of Public Works (NDPW),
found police involvement in the purchasing process was “improper”.
South African Police Service (SAPS) identified an urgent need for
more office space but instead of handing its request to the NDPW, it began
negotiations with a bidder. The NDPW should have stopped the process and begun
a competitive tender but the negotiation continued. The report concluded there
was no justification for deviating from the usual procurement process.
public protector Thuli Madonsela said: “Although SAPS did not sign the lease
agreement, its involvement in the procurement process was improper, as it
proceeded beyond the demand management phase and it further failed to implement
proper controls as required by the Public Finance Management Act. This failure
amounted to improper conduct and maladministration.”
added the lease is invalid and has called on the National Treasury
to terminate the agreement.
“fatally flawed” purchasing procedure included not going through a competitive
tender, ignoring the advice of lawyers not to proceed with the agreement and
the “reckless manner in which the department dealt with public funds”.
to the Treasury’s regulations, all contracts worth more than R500,000 (£43,734)
must go through a competitive tender process.
said the department's decision to proceed with the implementation of the lease
agreement despite legal advice to the contrary, was also in breach of the NDPW’s
requirements of good governance.
public protector has also requested the Treasury review whether any irregular
and wasteful expenditure was incurred by the police service or the department.