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'Queen of tenders' feels the heat

By Alfred Moselakgomo | Oct 06, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

MPUMALANGA Premier David Mabuza believes the province's public works department head, Priscilla Nkwinika, should be charged for allegedly squandering millions of tax payers' money.

But yesterday Mabuza declined to release the report implicating Nkwinika, saying he first needed to implement recommendations of the commission of inquiry.

Mabuza told journalists at a media briefing that Nkwinika, known as the "queen of tenders", cost the province millions of rands by awarding contracts to companies that charged inflated rates.

Now, she and members of the bid and adjudication committee, will have to repay R61million that the provincial government lost in escalating costs in the construction of two buildings, the Disaster Management Centre and a building housing archives.

It took a second investigation to convince Mabuza after the same conclusion was reached by the integrity management unit in his office early this year.

The unit found that the evaluation and adjudication process was flawed and the project was not advertised in the media or in any tender bulletin.

Yesterday the commission of inquiry, which was appointed by Mabuza on July 24, released its findings into why the expenditure for the archive building soared from R94million to R161million.

Magistrate Naomi Engelbrecht, who chaired the commission, said she discovered unjustified escalations and that tender procedures were flouted.

"I have therefore recommended that appropriate action be taken against all officials involved in awarding of these contracts."

Asked if the report would be made public, Mabuza said: "No, but I'm now convinced taxpayers' money was abused and heads will roll.

"We have a strong case and we will ensure that all the money wasted in these escalations will be recovered."


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