A company involved in a contract with the department of correctional services – that Parliament’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) described as “completely corrupt” – will appoint an “independent legal firm” to investigate the allegations against it.
In June, Commissioner of Correctional Services Zach Modise appeared twice before Scopa to account for irregular and wasteful expenditure of R494m – accumulated from the 2011/2012 financial year.
Included in the R494m was a contract with Integritron for an integrated inmate management system (IIMS). Integritron is part of the Sasstec Group, as is SA Fence & Gate. Combined, these two companies have contracts with the department to the tune of R2bn.
At the second meeting, DA MP Tim Brauteseth asked Modise why his car was parked outside the house of Sasstec director Geoff Greyling – to which didn’t provide a clear answer.
However, Modise did say that he knew Greyling from Bloemfontein, where he previously worked but denied that they were friends or involved in business together.
Brauteseth said Scopa had proof that correctional services staff colluded with Sasstec in drawing up the specifications for the IIMS contract, and that it appears the department ensured that the system they used before IIMS failed, necessitating the new IIMS.
Last week, AmaBhungane reported further details on how Sasstec was helped from inside the department of correctional services to secure the contract. AmaBhungane’s report was published on last Monday.
According to a press statement from Sasstec, the company had a board meeting last week Wednesday, where it was decided that the board will, within 21 days, appoint a “reputable, independent legal firm of person to conduct a legal, impartial investigation/assessment of all allegations dating back from 2014 to present”.
“The conduct of all Sasstec senior management and/or executive during this period, where relevant, must also be assessed and reported in relation to these allegations.”
Furthermore, a separate reputable entity or individual will conduct a financial investigation.
According to the press statement, Greyling said at the meeting, “I will take time off from my duties and responsibilities as Group CEO from the time both the processes begin, for a period not exceeding six months whilst these investigations/assessments are ongoing, and I provide my firm commitment that I will not interfere with the processes during this period. I will provide my full co-operation to both these processes as well as all the relevant information that I have available.”
Sasstec’s board agreed to these steps.
News24 reported in 2016 how Modise defied requests by National Treasury’s chief procurement officer to review the processes followed in awarding a contract for this system to Integritron Integrated Solutions.
National Treasury instructed Modise to cancel the contract. Any fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred through cancelling the contract should be recovered from Modise personally, it said.
The Auditor-General investigated the contract and found several irregularities.
In 2016, Integritron got a court interdict, preventing Masutha from publicly speaking about or acting on the Treasury report.
Before the second Scopa-meeting, Integritron sent Scopa a letter to “urge that the matter not be debated in an open forum”. MP’s took a dim view of this attempt to scupper Parliament’s oversight work, and Scopa proceeded nonetheless, without dealing with the Treasury report.
On Thursday, Masutha announced that Modise will retire at the end August, as he will turn 60.
Masutha said Modise will finalise the report he has to provide to Scopa.