JOHANNESBURG — The public protector on Tuesday said the South African Post Office (SAPO) board of directors should recover more than R20-million that the parastatal paid to Centurion Vision Development.
This was contained in Thuli Madonsela’s report on the institution titled ‘Postponed Delivery’.
It followed her five-year investigation into maladministration at the post office after the Communication Workers Union (CWU) laid a complaint in March 2011.
At the centre of its complaint was the SAPO’s acquisition of an office park as its new head quarters.
The union had complained that “the public finance management act is very clear against fruitless expenditure and the move of the NPC (National Postal Centre in Pretoria CBD) to Eco Point clearly constitutes fruitless expenditure.”
It also wanted the public protector to investigate the procurement of services of a catering company Fedics, the procurement and utilisation and labour brokers and possible corrupt relationship between some of the employees of the post office and certain external service providers.
Mandosela found that “South African Post Office’s acquisition of a ten year lease costing approximately R161 million in 2010 to house its national office at the Eco Point Office Park (in Centurion) was tainted by procurement irregularities and corruption.”
She added that the procurement of the lease was not fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective in accordance with the constitution.
Now she wants the post office to “recover an amount of R22 million that the SAPO paid to Centurion Vision Development in respect of upfront rental payment for the period of May 2010 to March 2011 when it had not taken occupation of the Eco Point building.”
She also wants the immediate implementation of recommendations contained in the KPMG and Special Investigations Unit (SIU) reports.
A KPMG report, commission by SAPO, had found that there had been a corrupt relationship between Centurion Vision Development, owners of the Eco Point office Park and one of the post office officials.
But, according to the report, “on receiving the report the post office failed to act expeditiously to review the deal with Centurion Vision Development.”
As part of her recommendations, the public protector said the South African Police Service (SAPS) should be called in and that “evidence pointing to the contravention of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt activities Act is submitted.