Parastatal's top-brass face tender, donations rap

Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

This story has been amended to add an apology to Sandra Anne Linley, see below:

Two high ranking Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) officials and a service provider are facing criminal investigations over an event contract and missing donations.

This comes after a CPSI employee and member of the trade union Nehawu opened a case of fraud at the Lyttelton police station alleging that CPSI's chief financial officer Annette Snyman and programmes manager Lydia Phalwane hijacked an event management tender from a company recommended by the bid adjudication and evaluation committee in favour of their preferred service provider, Accommodation Options Events (AOE).

AOE, according to CIPC documents, is owned by Sandra Anne Linley and Behalda Van Niekerk and two other directors, and they have been providing services to CPSI for six years.

The two-year project in question, the police affidavit states, was worth R400000.

However, the employee said though the Mahume Group was recommended for appointment as the successful bidder, Snyman was allowed to participate in the evaluation committee, despite not being eligible to participate in tender processes.

The union representative stated in his affidavit deposed to the police that AOE had an "intimate" relationship with the two officials and that they were also showered with expensive gifts.

The affidavit further alleged that Phalwane, who was the chairperson of the bid evaluation committee, had not declared that one of her friends, Phoebe Thlaku Kaniki, was a director of AOE.

But CIPC documents obtained indicate that she resigned from the company alongside four other directors.

"We suspect that some officials colluded with the service provider in order to mutually benefit from this event management contract through sponsorship and or donation funds," the official said.

Police were told that millions of rands in donations meant for CPSI were fraudulently deposited into the account of AOE by donors on the instruction of Snyman.

These donors included the MTN Foundation, the Government Employees Medical Scheme and United Nations Development Programmes.

The MTN Foundation confirmed that they made payment of donations as per their agreement with CPSI into the AOE's account.

CPSI acting executive director Pierre Schoonraad said public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo, whose department is in charge of the agency, was considering the matter.

Gems said that they sponsored a healthcare innovation award and the police confirmed that the police were investigating a case of fraud.

However, the AOE's Van Niekerk and Linley said they could not comment.

Press Council
Press Council

Apology

Sunday World apologises to Sandra Anne Linley for incorrectly stating as fact that she was the owner of Accommodation Options Events (AOE).

The newspaper said in a report published on May 13 that Linley was a director in AOE that was doing business with the department of public service and administration’s agency, the Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI).

Two high-ranking officials of this agency were reportedly facing criminal investigations for allegedly “hijacking” an event management tender from a company recommended by a bid adjudication and evaluation committee in favour of AOE.

Linley had resigned from the company in 2013, and Press Ombudsman Johan Retief duly directed the publication to apologise.

Visit www.presscouncil.org.za for the full finding.

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