Collusion Racket: WBHO clarifies position

WBHO says majority of its projects weren't implicated despite it being fined R311 million.

FNB stadium. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Construction giant Wilson Bayly Holmes-Ovcon (WBHO) has moved to clarify that majority of its projects weren't implicated in the collusion racket despite it being fined R311 million.

In a statement the company said, "We had to go back five years and 2,200 bids to find our first contravention. We note that as the biggest company in our industry our fine of R311 million is 3.7 percent of turnover."

It added the affected contracts also did not involve the construction of Soccer City in Soweto, the Cape Town Stadium or the Gautrain.

"We note that in our building there were no contraventions in Gauteng and the Western Cape where 75 percent of the turnover takes place."

This comes after the Competition Commission of South Africa fined 15 companies a collective amount of almost R1,5 billion for price-fixing and collusion dating back to 2006.

The fines have been described as a small percentage of the extent of bid-rigging, which is estimated to be worth nearly R50 billion.

It follows an investigation led by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel to rid the industry of corruption.

The Competition Commission's Trudi Makhaya said the next step would involve public hearings, where settlements would be scrutinised.

She added the body only dealt with companies and not individuals.

"We don't impose criminal sanctions. Other agencies can deal with the individuals where there is corruption, fraud, racketeering etc."

Billions were lost through major projects such as the building of stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the upgrade of airports, highway improvement projects, and the building of hospitals, dams and bridges.