Pretoria – The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) has recommended that the Aventino CC group that was supposed to build temporary homes in Talana, Tzaneen, Limpopo, be blacklisted.
Two weeks ago, the SIU discovered that the company’s R15.3 million offer for the project had been obtained illegally.
The group was supposed to build 192 temporary houses at Talana hostel in Tzaneen and extension 10 in Burgersfort, Sekhukhune.
The units were intended to help hostel residents who were exposed to threats posed by the Covid-19 pandemic during lockdown level 5.
It was also found that the units built did not meet its original design specifications.
Speaking at a press briefing after a meeting to present the SIU reports to Limpopo Prime Minister Stan Mathabatha on Thursday, SIU chief counsel Andy Mothibi said so far that the institution had seized the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) to take a decision on whether to prosecute on this matter.
Mothibi said, “Within the Department of Cooperative Governance, Human Settlements and Traditional Affairs, we made two referrals to the NPA and recommended that a company be blacklisted. “It is important to stress that the main objective of the SIU is to investigate serious cases of maladministration and corruption. As we investigate and reach our findings on the irregularities, we send the findings to the courts. The courts then try to recover the money.
“In this case, we asked the company to be blacklisted.
“We also want to see improvements in these administrations so that businesses that operate irregularly are to be blacklisted.”
Six Aventino suspects have since been arrested by the Hawks over the failure of the project. The Talana House project was carried out in accordance with the terms of Proclamation R23 of 2020 when the SIU was tasked by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate allegations of corruption, professional misconduct, maladministration and irregularities in purchasing goods during the Covid-19 state of disaster. Premier Mathabatha, who moderated the briefing, said, “The SIU has presented this report to us. You will recall that at one point we asked them to investigate this province on the basis of proclamations issued by the president at our request. “
Mathabatha distanced himself from the saga and announced that the SIU had been asked to investigate the problem with the establishment of the shacks that had put him under fire.
The department had appointed the Housing Development Agency as the executing agent for the project following its assessment of the residential situation in the hostels.
The SIU had found that the offer made to the entrepreneur Aventino Group was fraudulent.
The SIU report said in part: “The service provider, Aventino Group, has misrepresented and falsified documents from industry experts unrelated to the company to influence the direction of the offering.
“The investigation revealed that the ministry has appointed an enforcement agent for the establishment of transitional residential areas. The entity then appointed a service provider, Aventino, to build 192 units at a cost of Rand 12.3 million. An extension of the scope was approved to include the construction of 152 dry toilets and the installation of three water tanks (10,000 liters), at an additional cost of 3 million rand, bringing the contract value to 15, 3 million rand.
“The service provider only managed to build 40 cabins at the Talana hostel and submitted two invoices totaling over R2.5 million. On the Burgersfort Extension 10 site, no structure was completed because there were only half built. In accordance with SIU law, SIU forwarded evidence indicating criminal action against Aventino director Constance Mohlala to the NPA for further action.
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