Sunday, June 10, 2007

Scopa Probes eNaTIS

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) has launched a probe into the awarding of a R408- million tender for the controversial eNatis project.
The Sunday Times has established that Scopa has sent several questions to Mpumi Mpofu, the Director-General in the Department of Transport, asking her to provide a list of companies which tendered for the project and the respective values of their bids.
The probe was triggered by the fiasco which greeted the introduction of the new electronic National Traffic Information System.
The system’s crash has resulted in huge delays in vehicle licence registrations around the country.
Scopa’s preliminary questions have solicited responses that show the eNatis tender was allocated to the most expensive bidder.
Scopa chairman Themba Godi said the watchdog body was “anxious” about the performance of eNatis and “needed clarity” as public funds were involved. The glitches in the system raised suspicion that due diligence and risk analysis were not properly performed, before it was introduced, he said.
The tender was awarded in 2001 to the Tasima consortium at an initial value of R354 731 000. It was subsequently increased to R408-million.
Tasima, also known as Masiye Phambili, beat nine companies who bid at prices below R354.7-million.
Another two companies bid below the final R408-million the system has cost. AST Group lost with a R372-million bid and another company, Natcon, lost with a R395-million bid. This brings the companies that bid lower than the ultimate winner to 11, if the adjustment to R408-million is taken into account.
Strangely, Mpofu’s response to Scopa lists two other separate bid amounts under the name Natcon, at R467-million and R457-million, respectively.
The office of the Auditor-General is also conducting a procurement audit on the eNatis project as part of the regularity audit conducted on public entities.

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