A dodgy contract has led to the arrest of an Eastern Cape businessman.
Media reports say the business man scooped a whoooing R1.5m contract from the provincial department of education.
Bongile Nkola of Rickshaw Trade and Invest 49 confirmed to the Dispatch last week that he had received payment of R1.5m from the provincial department of education in December 2020 to deliver furniture to schools in the province for the 2021 academic year.
Nkola was supposed to deliver 1,000 chairs and 1,000 tables for pupils, and 200 tables with three drawers each and 200 chairs with armrests for teachers to various schools in the province.
“I went to the provincial education offices in January 2021 to ask for delivery instructions and I was told they would be sent to me.
“At the end of January 2021 I asked for the same delivery instructions and I could not get those instructions.
“In February 2021, I wrote a letter to the department that I will be starting to charge them for the storage of the furniture in my warehouse in Mthatha because they could not give me delivery instructions and the names of the schools. There was no response received from that letter,” Nkola said.
In August 2021, Nkola sent an invoice to the department charging it R1.4m for the storage and operational costs of the furniture in his warehouse.
The provincial education department said Nkola’s company had signed a service level agreement with the department to deliver school furniture in schools “which is one of the required resources in our schools for a conducive environment for teaching and learning”.
“The auditor-general picked up an irregularity when this company fraudulently submitted an invoice on December 7 2020.
“This was subsequently processed for payment on December 10 2021 of the same year without any proof of delivery of the material to any of our schools.
“[The department’s] risk management conducted an investigation and determined that indeed this company had engaged in this act,” department spokesperson Mali Mtima said.
Mtima said the department had opened a criminal case against Rickshaw Trade and Invest 49 at the Zwelitsha police station.
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