Hawks take aim at former finance minister over R1 billion contract: report

The Hawks are targeting yet another former finance of South Africa, this time Trevor Manuel – for allegedly not following due processes in approving a contract as far back as 2006.

This is according to a report in The Citizen, and comes at a time when current finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, is already facing criminal charges for fraud relating to the early retirement of his former deputy, Ivan Pillay.

According to The Citizen, Manuel allegedly approved a contract on modernisation at the SA Revenue Service (Sars), worth R100 million without following due processes.  The contract now allegedly stands at R1 billion.

Papers seen by The Citizen allegedly show that the R100 million contract was awarded to Barone, Budge & Dominick (BB&D), without going out to open tender.

“Instead, three potential service providers were invited and BB&D was appointed on exemption. It is also claimed Manuel’s then deputy, Jabu Moleketi, indicated he needed more information before taking a view on the matter,” the paper said.

Additional documents show that Sars was criticised for allegedly relying on the former Sars general manager of strategy, modernisation and technology, Barry Hore’s “personal experience” and “memos” for the project, The Citizen said.

The paper said that that the founder of the Decolonisation Foundation and former government spokesperson Mzwanele “Jimmy” Manyi has laid charges of “corruption and irregularities” against Manuel.

The Citizen said that the matter has been referred to the Hawks for an inquiry and the public protector for assessment.

A memo dated November 2006, sent from Gordhan’s previous office at Sars to Manuel, showed that Moleketi allegedly noted that “this read was complex, would need more information to state a view, hence can only note”.

Moleketi drew a line through the “recommended” and “not recommended” options and instead chose the “noted” option. Manuel however, approved the memo, the paper reported.

The former finance head declined to comment on the allegations.

Manuel has been critical of president Jacob Zuma in recent weeks, accusing him of putting his own interests ahead of the country, and calling for him to step down.

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Hawks take aim at former finance minister over R1 billion contract: report