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South Africa Government : Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries hands over financial and procurement irregularities investigations to Police


4-Traders

August 7th, 2012
DAFF hands over the investigations in the fisheries branch to the SAPS

6 Sep 2012

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has officially handed its investigation into suspected financial and procurement irregularities, maladministration, and corruption in the Fisheries Branch of the department to the South African Police Services (SAPS).

“The investigation is effectively out of the hands of the department and the Minister. Once complete, the SAPS will advise the department on appropriate actions to be taken,” the acting director general, Sipho Ntombela confirmed.

In March 2012, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, initiated a forensic investigation into the award and multiple extensions of the vessel management function to a shipping management company. Essentially the investigation had to establish whether there were irregularities in the past tenders and management thereof awarded to the company and to its business associates. Smit Amandla Marine has been providing the vessel management function to Government for the past 10 to 12 years.

The investigation mentioned above has reached a critical stage and the department has thus decided to hand it over to the SAPS for finalisation.

“The initial investigation was carried out by a reputable forensic firm that uncovered that there are possible cases of corruption in the Fisheries branch. The investigation by the SAPS is a culmination of this process”, Ntombela concludes.

Below please find a timeline of the events leading up to the handing over of the case to the SAPS:

Timeline:

  • 2000 to 2005: The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism awards Smit Amandla Marine a tender for five years
  • 2005 to 2010: The contact is extended for another five years, no tender process
  • 2010: Contract is extended for a year
  • 2011: Contract is extended for a year
  • March 2012: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries initiates investigation into the matter
  • August 2012: Initial findings reveal possible irregularities in procurement, financial management and corruption

South Africa: Minister baits hook for graft


Fisheries scientists sorting a catch of small ...
Fisheries scientists sorting a catch of small fish and Norway lobster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 IOL Business Report

March 22nd, 2012

An independent committee, which is likely to be headed by a retired judge, will be trawling through all awards of fisheries tenders following what Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson admitted was a saga over the awarding of a marine patrol contract.

She said yesterday that a black empowerment company, Sekunjalo, had been tainted by dodgy departmental tender processes, which led to it losing its preferred bidder status.

In an admission that one of her departmental branches was a bit “shoddy”, the minister called an emergency press conference on a public holiday to announce the committee’s pending appointment.

Sekunjalo lost its status last month as preferred bidder for the R800 million, five-year contract to police South Africa’s marine resources and conduct marine research.

The incumbent provider, Smit Amandla Marine, took legal action, arguing Sekunjalo had a conflict of interest as it would police marine resources while having a fishing company in its fleet. It also argued the adjudication process was fishy.

The minister said the fisheries branch had been under scrutiny “with regard to alleged irregular processes and procedures” being followed in the awarding of tenders.

Acknowledging that the award to Sekunjalo had been withdrawn “on the basis of advice from senior counsel”, Joemat-Pettersson said that as a consequence “of our own flawed processes, an innocent company, Sekunjalo, has been portrayed as the culprit in this saga and its reputation has been tainted”.

In an apparent reference to Smit Amandla, she said “another company” could have taken legal action against the department for awarding and withdrawing a tender “based on shoddy government work”. “I have consulted with the ministry of justice and constitutional development with the view of appointing a judge to head the committee of inquiry.” Read more.

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