The National Treasury says its Register for Tender Defaulters remains empty, a fact that has upset opposition Democratic Alliance shadow finance minister Dr Dion George, who says this is not acceptable after five years.
But Treasury says Section 28 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004 prescribes that a court must order the inclusion of a the details of a person or business convicted for offences relating to tenders or contracts.
Section 28 (1)(a) of the Act says “in addition to imposing any sentence contemplated in section 26 of the Act, the court may also issue an order that the name of the convicted person, the conviction and sentence and any other order of the court consequent thereupon be endorsed on the Register.”
Section 28(1)(b) prescribes “that if the person so convicted is an enterprise, the court may also order that the particulars of that enterprise, the particulars of any partner, manager, director or other person, who wholly or partly exercises or may exercise control over that enterprise and who was involved in the offence concerned or who knows or ought reasonably to have known or suspected that the enterprise committed the offence concerned, and the conviction, sentence and any other order of the court consequent thereupon, be endorsed on the register.”
Treasury says to date no court has issued such an order “and therefore no name appears on this Register.”
Treasury adds that a working group has been established to improve government’s supply chain management (SCM).
“This working group is composed of representatives of the National Treasury, the South African Revenue Services, the Financial Intelligence Centre, the Auditor-General and the Special Investigation Unit.
“Among others, the work group will identify high-risk clusters of tenders with the object of conducting integrated investigations which should result in enforcement actions which could be either referral for criminal investigations, civil recovery, referral for internal disciplinary proceedings and/or full tax enforcement.
“The National Treasury will consider measures to enhance public awareness of the names of persons who were found guilty of transgressions,” Treasury said.
It is estimated that the state loses many millions of Rand annually though poor SCM, corruption, waste and fraud.
This did not mollify George, who says the register is meant to “name and shame those convicted in tender irregularities.”
He says he will ask further parliamentary questions on why provisions of an Act of Parliament are being ignored. “In addition, we will submit a proposal to amend the current legislation in order to force courts to list the names of companies and persons convicted in tender irregularities. Currently, the law states that a court may order the name to be put on the list – this must become the default option.”