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19 April 2014 | Gurjit Degun
The chief executive officer of the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in South Africa has been sacked after an investigation found him involved in irregular procurement transactions.
The science and technology minister Derek Hanekom MP announced he had dismissed Simphiwe Duma from the Agency following an investigation by Deloitte.
The enquiry found during a tender process where the contract was awarded to management consultancy firm McKinsey, Duma did not treat all suppliers equally throughout the procedure.
“The fact that McKinsey played a significant role in preparing the terms of reference for the tender and subsequently participated in the tender process raises doubt about the equitability of the process,” the report said. “It may be argued that through McKinsey’s interactions with TIA prior to the tender publication they may have gained an unfair advantage.” McKinsey South Africa has not yet responded to SM's request for comment.
The investigation also found Duma appointed Nhlanhla Nyide, the former communication specialist contracted at TIA, without following the required procurement processes. Deloitte said Duma failed to take responsibility for the “effective, efficient, economical and transparent use of financial resources”; or take “effective and appropriate” steps to prevent irregular expenditure.
The report also found evidence of nepotism, irregular investment transactions and abuse of the expenses system.
As an interim measure, the Agency’s chief operations officer Mkhululi Mazibuko has been appointed acting CEO. Werner van der Merwe has been acting chief financial officer since the dismissal of CFO Barbara Kortjass.
Hanekom said: “The finalisation of the disciplinary processes against the former CEO of TIA and other staff concludes a rather difficult and unfortunate chapter in the history of the Agency. The focus now will be on the recruitment of a suitably skilled and qualified individual who will add to the strength of the Agency’s Board, and ensure that the day-to-day operations of the Agency are conducted competently, and with honesty and integrity.”