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Wednesday, 15 November 2023 13:26

SIU reveals irregularities and corruption in Giyani water project.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has concluded its investigation into the "irregular and unlawful" awarding of contracts to LTE Consulting by Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) in Limpopo.

The project, intended to transfer water from Nandoni Dam to 55 communities, saw its budget balloon to R2.2 billion, contrary to the directives of the minister, and without approved budget plan.

The SIU was mandated, in terms of Proclamation No R22 of 2016, to investigate the awarding of contracts by the Lepelle Northern Water and Gauteng Department of Human Settlements.

SIU programme manager Gina Pretorius told the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that they have gone to the High Court in Limpopo to set aside the tender as it was awarded irregularly and unlawfully.

The Giyani Bulk Water Project was started in 2014 and is yet to be completed.

The SIU found that the appointment of LTE Consulting Engineers (LTE) at a contract value of R2.2 billion was irregular and unlawful.

"It was concluded without due regard to section 217 of the Constitution, the LNW SCM Policy and the directives of the Minister," said Pretorius.

"It was found that the appointment of LTE by LNW both on 18 August 2014 and 25 September 2014 were irregular and unlawful in that: LTE was not registered with the Construction and Industry Development Board (CIDB) to undertake/carry out construction work for public sector contracts.

"LNW was prohibited in terms of section 18 of the CIDB Act, read together with the Regulation 30(c) of the CIDB Regulations, to appoint a contractor to carry out construction works without a valid registration certificate issued by the CIDB."

The SIU investigation also uncovered that the LNW paid R4.1 billion, which far exceeds the original contract value of R2.2 billion.

"The SIU has identified a corrupt relationship between the LNW officials, service provider and departments officials."

An expert called in to examine five of the 167 installed boreholes found that the costs had been inflated by R893,422,148.17 on the work that was reviewed.

The SIU has been involved in a legal scuffle since November 26 2018 in an attempt to have the contract to the value of R2.2 billion declared unconstitutional, invalid and set aside.

"The quantum of the contract has subsequently been increased to R4.1 billion," added Pretorius.

The SIU is also pursuing civil action against LNW officials to recover money lost due to their involvement in the alleged corruption.