Publication: Cape Argus Issued: Date: 2004-03-26 Reporter: Johan Schronen

Big Cape Cell Network Deal Probed

 

Publication 

Cape Argus

Date 2004-03-26

Reporter

Johan Schronen

Web Link

www.iol.co.za

 

A R40-million City of Cape Town cellphone contract awarded to Cell C may be in jeopardy after internal auditors discovered apparent serious flaws in the tender procedures.

A high-level probe is under way into the points system which led to Cell C being the preferred bidder for the three-year contract.

A well-placed council source said she feared costly litigation "whichever way the issue turns".

The council's internal forensic auditing boss, Vincent Botto, confirmed a "review" of the tender process, but said there was no suggestion of fraud or corruption at this stage.

But the council source said a host of "damning transgressions" in the award process had already surfaced in the initial investigation that pointed to serious irregularities.

She said it was being "played down" by council bosses, but there were at least eight points in the tender process that could be suspect.

There had already been unofficial inquiries from unsuccessful bidders.

Botto was not prepared to comment on the possible outcome of the investigation, but the council source said the award might be challenged at the highest level if the right bidder did not get the contract.

Cell C, which announced on March 17 that it had been awarded an exclusive contract to supply and deliver cellular products to the city until 2007, said it was not aware of the developments and would be looking into the issue.

Cell C's Moira Sheridan has said her company was expected to supply up to 3 700 cellphone contracts to staff and officials of the city.

With acknowledgements to Johan Schronen and the Cape Argus.