CoJ pays R6-m for computers that never materialised

According to City of Joburg executive mayor, Clr Herman Mashaba, CoJ paid R6-million for 500 desktop computers in 2014 that were never delivered.

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Mashaba said the computers were ordered by the Group Information and Communication Technology Department.

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“Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS) received a tip-off from a member of the public who is closely linked to the service provider that while she was working at the company, the city placed an order for 500 computers. The computers were paid for with the assistance of officials working for the city but never reached the city,” said Mashaba.

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He said a search-and-seizure operation was conducted on January 30 by members of the Hawks and officials from GFIS at the offices of the service provider.

He said about 37 computers worth R750 000 belonging to the city were seized.

“It is alleged that after winning the tender to supply the computers‚ the service provider placed an order with Mustek to do the city’s imaging on the computers. This was a standard procedure. But with this batch it is alleged that when he received it from Mustek‚ the service provider [and] his specialists in information technology filed to remove the city’s imaging. Serial numbers of the seized computers were removed‚” Mashaba said.

It is alleged that most of the computers were sold to other clients and the 37 that were seized were used by the service provider’s staff members.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that a city official was paid R1-million by the service provider for securing the deal. The city official allegedly took one official working for the service provider to a shop in the south which sells building material and spent R30 000 as a token of appreciation to the official.

“I was also informed that the service provider colludes with one of our officials, who steals printer cartridges from our stores and sells it to the service provider, who then sells it back to the city‚” Mashaba said.

“When the team arrived at the property, they found one employee removing serial numbers from the boxes of the cartridges which had names of other municipalities and government departments. The team also established that the service provider illegally connected electricity supply to the property. City Power officials were called in and they removed the meter,” said Mashaba.

He said GFIS is currently conducting a number of investigations into contracts entered with ICT suppliers.

The mayor urged people to report any fraud and corruption activities through the 24-hour tip-off hotline 0800 002 587 or to visit the GFIS offices at 48 Ameshoff Street in Braamfontein.

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Marietta Lombard

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