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Political party highlights alleged violation of BEE laws by Gupta companies

CREAMER MEDIA / 06 MARCH 2018 - 14.00 / MEGAN VAN WYNGAARDT

Democratic Alliance shadow Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Dean MacPherson on Tuesday laid a complaint again Gupta-linked companies, Tegeta Exploration and Resources, Optimum Coal Mine, Trillian Management Consulting, Eskom Holdings and BEE Matrix at the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Commission.

The complaint alleged the violation of the BBBEE Act arising from two BBBEE certificates allegedly issued by BEE Matrix, a verification agency, to Tegeta and Optimum respectively, and a BBBEE sworn affidavit allegedly deposed to on behalf of Trillian, which were allegedly submitted and accepted by Eskom in respect of specific contracts.

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BBBEE Commission commissioner Zodwa Ntuli said processes would be followed to look into the complaint impartially, “without fear, favour or prejudice”, with a decision to be made on whether or not the BBBEE Act was violated.

Ntuli emphasised that, as per process, respondents would be notified of the complaint and given an opportunity to respond to the allegations made by Macpherson in this complaint, and after the investigation, respondents would be allowed a 30-day opportunity to respond to the findings before they are made final.

The findings would then be communicated to the respondents and the complainant, and published in accordance with the BBBEE Act.

“If violations are found, an entity can be referred for prosecution with a possible fine of up to 10% of the entity’s annual turnover, and the individuals involved can be fined or imprisoned for up to ten years.

“An entity can also be excluded from doing business with government for a period of up to ten years, and contracts and licences acquired from any State-owned entity or government department may be cancelled,” says Ntuli.

The BBBEE Commission may also approach a court of law to seek an order to restrain the breach of the BBBEE Act or for any appropriate remedial relief, which may include setting aside any contract concluded based on conduct, practice or arrangement that is in violation of the BBBEE Act.

The BBBEE Commission will not discuss the merits or the details of its investigation, and will upon investigation communicate its findings to the complainant and publish its findings as required in the BBBEE Act.

The BBBEE Commission also confirmed that it has initiated investigations against BEE Matrix in June 2017 and Eskom in July 2017 on separate allegations regarding the violation of the BBBEE Act, but that these allegations are not related to the BBBEE certificates referred to in this complaint.

“BBBEE certificates are issued to entities by verification agencies after conducting an independent verification of the claims made by an entity and neither the BBBEE Commission nor the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issues any BBBEE certificates or gives prior approval of them before they are issued.

“The verification agencies are required to follow the Codes of Good Practice and the verification procedures issued by the DTI for this purpose,” she added

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LINK : http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/political-party-highlights-alleged-violation-of-bee-laws-by-gupta-companies-2018-03-06

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