Monday, February 13, 2012

Forensic Report into Sekenjalo Tender Exposed

This statement has been issued by the Democratic Alliance's Pieter van Dalen.

The DA has gained access to a forensic audit into the infamous Sekunjalo tender, announced by Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson last year.

The report exposes significant irregularities in the awarding of a contract to Sekunjalo Holdings to combat illegal fishing on South African coastlines. The contract was awarded even though a Sekunjalo subsidiary, Premier Fishing, has fishing rights for South African waters – a clear conflict of interest.

Sekunjalo has effectively entered into an R800 million contract with the state to be both the player and referee in South African waters.

I will today be writing to the Minister to urge her to release the report and declare the tender process invalid. Steps must be taken to review the contract awarded to Sekunjalo Holdings.
The key findings of the forensic report in the DA’s possession are:
  • There was no evidence that the bid adjudication committee even considered the major conflict of interest in awarding a contract to Sekunjalo. The qualifications of the people on the committee also could not be verified.
  • The report acknowledges the apparent conflict of interest, repetitively raised by the DA and other stakeholders. Premier Fishing, as a subsidiary of the Sekunjalo Consortium, has existing fishing rights awarded to it by the State.
  • Premier Fishing, Premier Fishing Consortium and Sekunjalo Marine Services all submitted bids for the same tender, citing one common annual report as their supporting documentation.
The forensic audit recommended that the conflict of interest be investigated by the MLRF and resolved with the Treasury before the awarding of the tender. This was never done.

The DA has submitted parliamentary questions on the matter and I launched a PAIA application to see the tender documentation referred to in the forensic audit.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the fisheries branch of the Department of Agriculture and Minister Joemat-Pettersson have acted in a way that puts our marine resources, and the people who make their livelihoods out of it, at risk. If the Minister wishes to display a commitment to good governance she will cease implementation of this tender, and open up the process followed to public scrutiny.

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