15 June 2017

South Africa: The Prisons Boss, His Car and the 'Completely Corrupt' Tender

Photo: Channels TV
Prison cell (file photo).

Correctional services commissioner Zach Modise could on Wednesday not explain why his car was parked outside the house of the director of a company that does business worth R2bn with the department.

The director of SA Security Solutions and Technology (Sasstec), Geoff Greyling, was not his friend and they did not do business, he told the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa).

After a bruising encounter with MPs on Scopa last week, Modise and his officials were back in Parliament to account for irregular and wasteful expenditure of R494m, accumulated from the 2011/2012 financial year.

This time Modise was accompanied by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha.

Included in the R494m was a controversial contract with Integritron for an integrated inmate management system (IIMS).

News24 reported last year how Modise defied requests, by National Treasury's chief procurement officer, to review the processes followed in awarding a contract for this system to Integritron Integrated Solutions.

National Treasury instructed Modise to cancel the contract. Any fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred through cancelling the contract should be recovered from Modise personally, it said.

The Auditor-General investigated the contract and found several irregularities.

Last year, Integritron got a court interdict preventing Masutha from publicly speaking about or acting on the Treasury report. Its lawyers on Tuesday sent Scopa a letter to "urge that the matter not be debated in an open forum".

Scopa proceeded nonetheless. Chairperson Themba Godi said they would not deal with the Treasury report.

ANC whip in the committee, Nyami Booi, and DA MP Tim Brauteseth took exception to the fact that a private company was trying to scupper Parliament's work.

Brauteseth asked Modise if he knew the directors of Sasstec. Modise said he did not.

Brauteseth said it was the holding company of Integritron and SA Fence and Gate. Both these companies did business totalling R2bn with correctional services.

Brauteseth asked if Modise knew Greyling and a second Sasstec shareholder, Patrick Monyeki. Modise said he knew Greyling. They both hail from Bloemfontein.

"In the environment where I work, I meet people," Modise said. He did not engage them in business, as a bid committee awarded contracts.

Brauteseth then asked Modise why his car was outside Greyling's house in Pretoria on November 2, 2015.

Modise said he could not recall being there. Brauteseth repeated his question and mentioned the registration number of the car.

"I'm surprised that I'm under surveillance, if that's the case," said Modise. He said he had four cars, and he did not know who used them.

"He's not a personal friend of mine, I don't do business with him," he said.

"It just seems very unusual that one of your vehicles was parked outside the house of a supplier," Brauteseth said.

He asked him if a relative could have used his car. Modise said he did not want to respond on behalf of his family.

Brauteseth said Scopa had proof that correctional services staff colluded with Sasstec in drawing up the specifications for the IIMS contract.

"That, commissioner, is flagrant collusion, flagrant corruption," said Brauteseth.

Brauteseth described the IIMS contract as "a completely irregular and corrupt contract we can't discuss here".

"This committee shouldn't be used by the honourable member to attack me," Modise complained.

"I'm not his garden boy, I'm not his farm boy!" he said, referring to Brauteseth.

Brauteseth was "absolutely livid" about his response, and Godi asked Modise to withdraw it.

Booi accused Modise of misleading Parliament, following his replies to questions about department officials doing business with the state.

"Quite clearly you have not done your job," Booi said.

News24

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