The Democratic Alliance (DA) said today that it will ask the Auditor General to investigate irregularities on more than R200 million worth of air transport contracts.
This follows today’s Mail & Guardian report on funds received by an aircraft brokering company, Y&P Logistics, despite allegedly failing to supply air transport services to the Department of Defence (DoD) during the Battle of Bangui, in 2013.
According to Mail & Guardian, a tender list compiled for amaBhungane shows that between April last year and June this year Y&P Logistics received contracts worth R209-million – three times the combined value of business granted to seven other approved bidders.
This matter has been on-going for months. David Ross, DA’s Member of Parliament said: “at a meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans 09 July 2014 I asked the Secretary of Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, whether the Defence Department were investigating alleged irregularities in the awarding tender for the transportation of troops and supporting equipment for the Defence Force.”
“The reply from the Secretary of Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, which I received on 20 August 2014, was that during the Battle of Bangui, there was a small SANDF contingent deployed over the period 2 to 4 January 2013, using chartered IL-76 and SAAF C130 aircraft.”
“Gulube further said to me that the proper approved procurement process was followed in obtaining the required chartered aircraft. Gulube further told me that DoD has since received a claim from a company that alleges to have been positioned to supply Air Transport service at the time of the CAR evacuation and that the DoD has instituted a Board of Inquiry on the matter and the investigation is still in progress.”
According to Ross, what is clear from the reply is that the Defence Department is conducting an internal inquiry into the awarding of air transport contracts during the Battle of Bangui in 2013.
“However, the Department of Defence is clearly not conducting an internal inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the awarding tender for the transportation of troops and supporting equipment after the Battle of Bangui in 2013.”
“I am not going to allow the Defence Department to continue sticking its head in the sand and avoiding a proper investigation into the awarding of this controversial tender,” said Ross.
“I will therefore, request the Auditor-General, Mr Kimi Makwetu, to investigate alleged irregularities in the awarding and in the operation of the tender for ‘Chartering of Aircraft for the Transportation of Troops and Supporting Equipment for Foreign Missions on Behalf of the Department of Defence of the Republic of South Africa’ by the Department of Defence.”