Johannes Hermanus Bouwe Smith and three other trustees of the Siegesmund Trust have been ordered by the Grahamstown High Court to pay back the money, a whopping R3 million, to the Eastern Cape Department of Education. Special Investigating Unit (SIU) spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, said the sum earned in a 2014 procurement deal had been deemed to be “unlawfully and irregularly awarded”. 

“The order follows an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into the awarding of a R59 365 163.50 tender to an entity named the Siegesmund Trust for the delivery and supply of computers which purported to be Learner Teacher Support Materials by the Eastern Cape Department of Education (EC DOE),” Kganyago said.

He said an SIU investigation had revealed that the goods concerned were procured unlawfully and/or irregularly, in contravention of the provisions of the Department’s Supply Chain Management policy, in contravention of section 2(1)(a) and (b)(i) of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act No.5 of 2000, and in contravention of section 217(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. 

“The SIU investigation had found that the Siegesmund Trust had indeed delivered the resource material. As a result, the SIU calculated the profit earned from the procurement contract and demanded it be paid back. The trustees of Siegesmund Trust agreed to pay back R3 million in three instalments plus interest,” he said.

He said the agreement was made an order of the High Court on 11 March. 

During the course of the payment process, one official had misrepresented certain facts to officials, Kganyago said, resulting in and contributing to the irregularities not being detected and  payment not being prevented. 

“In addition, the SIU uncovered evidence that the DOE official received unauthorised gratification in the form of two laptops and a Samsung S3 cell phone in contravention of the provisions of section 10 the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act No. 12 of 2004 (“PACOCA”),” he said.

Additional results from the SIU’s investigation included the referral of evidence of misconduct in relation to six officials at the EC DOE, referrals to the South African Receiver of Revenue and the State Information Technology Agency, Kganyago said.

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Presh JM Reporter

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