The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has found that the R15.3-million tender for the construction of 192 transitional residential units in Limpopo was “fraudulently obtained”. The SIU revealed this on Tuesday afternoon.
“The appointed service provider, Aventine Group CC, made misrepresentations and forged documents of industry experts with no links to the company to influence the direction of the bid,” it said in a statement.
The Limpopo provincial government appointed Aventine Group CC to erect shacks in a bid to reduce overcrowding at a hostel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The investigation into the multi-million Rand project was launched last year following backlash over the project and its overpriced shacks. The provincial government referred the matter to the SIU.
SIU spokesperson, Kaizer Kganyago, explain the scope of the project,
“An extension of scope was approved to include the construction of 152 pit toilets and installation of three water tanks (10 000 litres), for additional fee of R3-million, taking the contract value to R15.3-million.”
“The service provider only managed to construct 40 shacks at Talana Hostel and submitted two invoices totalling over R2.5-million, which were paid between April and October 2020,” said Kganyago.
The SIU has recommended to the Housing Development Agency, an agency of the Department of Human Settlements, that Aventine Group CC be restricted from doing business with government and that the matter be escalated to National Treasury for consideration of relevant action to be taken.
Kganyago added that the SIU is in a process of instituting civil proceedings in the Special Tribunal to review and set aside the R15.3-million contract and recover financial losses suffered by the State.