South Africa News

2 ex-Transnet employees accused of inflating breathalyzer straw prices from 28 cents to R29 could face criminal charges

Two former Transnet employees who allegedly inflated prices for breathalyzer straws, worth 28 cents to R29, could face criminal charges after their case was referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is also mounting a legal challenge to set aside the tender, worth R38 million, after the unit successfully blocked their pensions.

The two former officials were implicated in the tender where a price for a breathalyzer straw was inflated from 28c to R29.

Minister of Public Enterprises Pravin Gordhan said they have taken action against the two officials with investigations by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (known as the Hawks), NPA and SIU underway.

The breathalyser straws were procured at the height of Covid-19.

Gordhan, who was replying to a written parliamentary question from Economic Freedom Fighters’ MP Mathapelo Siwisa, said the former Executive Manager for Group Continuity and Disaster Management and the Executive Director for Safety were central to the procurement process.

It was found that the prices for the breathalyser were inflated massively.

“An internal disciplinary process was instituted in respect of the two employees central to the procurement of the breathalyser straws. At the conclusion of this process, they were both dismissed. The matter was also reported by Transnet to the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation on October 5, 2021 in terms of Section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004,” Gordhan said.

“A referral has also been made to the National Prosecuting Authority. Transnet also referred the matter to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) for further investigation in terms of Proclamation R23 of no 2020 published on 23 July 2020 in Government Gazette No. 43546,” he said.

“The SIU has launched an application in the Special Tribunal to review and set aside the contracts awarded to the three service providers. The two employees central to the procurement have been cited as respondents in this application.”

The SIU and Transnet also confirmed last month that the unit has been able to block the pensions of the two former officials.

The SIU went to the Special Tribunal to seek an interdict against the pension funds of the ex-employees.

The pension of the two former executives was R8.9m.

-IOL Politics

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