South Africa has been a victim of many corruption scandals which has plundered its economy very badly. And, unfortunately, when the policy makers like the former SA Finance Minister ‘Trevor Manuel’ and the former SARS Commissioner ‘Pravin Gordhan’ themselves are involved in blunt corruption, what else could be expected.
Quoting one such corruption scandal at SARS in the year 2006 which had an active involvement of ‘Trevor Manuel’, who was the finance minister, and ‘Pravin Gordhan’, who was the SARS commissioner at that time.
The In-Depth Scrutiny of SARS ‘System Modernization’ Scandal
As per the reports of Gartner consulting, ‘Trevor Manuel’ had allegedly approved a contract worth R100 million regarding the modernization of SARS (South African Revenue Services) on 23rd Nov, 2006. At that point of time, the SARS Commissioner was Pravin Gordhan who had sent the modernization proposal to the finance ministry via a vague memo on 3rd Nov, 2006. The proposal was reviewed by the deputy FM ‘Jabu Moleketi’ on 23rd Nov, 2006 marking the read as complex, and that it would need more information to state a view. When such complex memo was forwarded to Mr Manuel, he blindly approved it the same day without any second thought just for the sake of Pravin Gordhan.
This contract was awarded to Barone, Budge & Dominick (BB&D), South Africa’s premier custom software development company, that too without any regulated open bidding tender on such a high-profile contract, properly approved by Trevor Manuel and Pravin Gordhan. This entire plot stunk of a massive corruption at the hands of #WMC lobby.
BB&D was roped in under a false pretence of so-called ‘exemption’. The arrogance of power on the part of Trevor Manuel was so high at that juncture that he ignored his deputy ‘Jabu Moleketi’ who had specified that he needed more information before taking a view on the matter.
This scandal was broken by Mzwanele ‘Jimmy’ Manyi, the founder of Decolonization Foundation and former government spokesperson who laid the charges of corruption and irregularities against Travel Manuel and his successor and former SARS commissioner Pravin Gordhan. This acted as the eye-opener for Hawks and the public protector to investigate the matter.
Gartner consulting further stated that the façade of modernization was used to hide the individual business interest of Pravin Gordhan through the contract.
This act was the first entry in the corruption book of Trevor Manuel, his anti-economic policies in his stint as finance minister during the post-apartheid era in favor of the whites were so oppressive that made him earn many accolades from the Whites. Currently, he is chairman of Old Mutual Emerging Markets (OMEM), an asset and savings management firm in which Johann Rupert has a considerable shareholding. His accomplice Pravin Gordhan has also been following the same evil steps of his predecessor, and looking to topple the pro-black regime with #WMC.
Trevor Manuel’s and Pravin Gordhan’s Plot to get Contract in Favor of BB&D
When the contract of Oracle was on the verge of termination, they wanted the urgent response by the end of September 2006, but it went unnoticed by SARS’s Barry Hore, the General Manager of Strategy, Modernization and Technology, and he rather suggested some other players in replacement of ‘Oracle’. This approval was authorized by Pravin Gordhan. So in his personal professional capacity, Hore suggested the alternate options – IBM, Accenture, and BB&D citing the reasons of time constraint, track record, criticality involved in rescuing the bulk of transactions, which was later turned into the facade of the personal gain of Trevor Manuel and Pravin Gordhan.
Following that, IBM, Accenture, and BB&D were approached and told them to draft their proposal within the four weeks time. Unfortunately, IBM declined to participate, which was fortunate for Pravin Gordhan though. Only Accenture was able to offer a mainstream solution at a contract cost of about R356 million for 3 years and a total solution cost of approximately R529 million. It was also turned down by the SARS and they cited the reason that it exceeded the allocated budget.
Trevor Manuel’s Conspiracy Of Looting R1 billion At The Expense Of R100 million
These developments were exactly happening as per the plans of Pravin Gordhan which left BB&D, the only player existing in the bid. So to make the bid of BB&D look favorable as compared to others, SARS intentionally claimed that the company’s bid came with an economic solution of R100 million for 3 years. Furthermore, in the quest to include BB&D for the role of main supplier, Pravin Gordhan and his team cited their previous working experience with BB&D and their quality work. Though, the contract was fixed at R100 million, yet the work over 3 years had touched a ransom of R1 billion.
They had brought an exemption for BB&D when the firm was not in compliance with the normal process of SARS. Actually, both of them were looking for the firm which they can manipulate easily. And they got their choice in BB&D, as it was based in South Africa, and as a finance minister, it was easy for Trevor Manuel to manipulate the operations of the firm through intimidation, which was not the case with other organizations.
As if not, Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi was the first person who broke that scandal, SARS former regional manager ‘Kenneth Finton’ had registered a complaint to former Public Protector and cited the similar concerns raised by Manyi. But the public protector at the time was Thuli Madonsela, another close associate of #WMC lobby like Trevor Manuel and Pravin Gordhan. So she turned deaf ear to it and cited the poor reason that it didn’t fall within their mandate.
The graveness of this corruption is simply evaluated by the fact that the two persons with high-integrity had reported on this. So it is high-time that the investigative agencies and public protector must investigate this old-age scandal and punish all the involved culprits imminently.
Source Reference of the Content: http://citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/1320266/hawks-talons-out-for-manuel/