Police stations-building contract irregularities

More dodgy tenders found - Police stations-building contract irregularities Police stations-building contract irregularities The Special Investigating Unit has told parliament it uncovered serious irregularities in the building of 33 police stations, which cost the country R330-million. Hot on the heels of the R500-million police headquarters lease deal scandal, the National Assembly's justice committee heard yesterday that the SAPS build programme was plagued by tender irregularities, including possible BEE fronting. Outlining his unit's strategic plans for the 2011/12 financial year, unit head Willie Hofmeyr said: "We are looking at the building of 33 police stations where up to R330-million has been spent so far. "A lot of the stations are being built on three quotes, not on a tender process. You have one quote for desks, another for half the bricks and another quote for the other half of the bricks. It's not a very desirable system," Hofmeyr told shocked MPs. He said his preliminary investigation also found that several companies hired to build the police stations got the jobs despite quoting the state exorbitant amounts. "We have cases where the lowest quotations are not accepted, where the winning bidder didn't submit a quote, possible cover quoting and BEE fronting," said Hofmeyr. Stations under investigation, he said, were the Pienaar and Hazyview stations in Mpumalanga and Brighton Beach and eSikhawini in KwaZulu-Natal. He said SAPS officials seemed to have bent rules for personal gain as some appeared to have had interests in many companies that received tenders for building or renovating the 33 stations across the country. "SAPS officials [seem to be] having interests in the companies to whom work was given. In many cases the payments exceed budgeted costs," said Hofmeyr. The unit's revelations follow the report by public protector Thuli Madonsela, who declared the R500-million 10-year lease of the Middestad building in Pretoria to be unlawful. Hofmeyr said national police commissioner General Bheki Cele asked his unit to investigate the police build programme after he picked up suspicious transactions in the SAPS capital expansion programme. Hofmeyr said they were also investigating a dubious lease agreement for residential accommodation for government employees in Pretoria. The lease agreement, not properly approved, cost the state R217000 a month and the contract value had so far exceeded R7-million. A document Hofmeyr presented to MPs showed the contractor for the lease "has been positively linked to a public works official". Keywords - BEE fronting, General Bheki Cele, Willie Hofmeyr, SAPS, Special Investigating Unit, police stations, tender process, building contract, irregularities, construction

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