Aveng CEO resigns

Aveng CEO Roger Jardine has announced his resignation after five years at the helm.

Aveng CEO Roger Jardine has announced his resignation. Picture: Stock. XCHNG

JOHANNESBURG - Roger Jardine, CEO of construction company Aveng, says he's stepping down now that the Competition Commission's investigation into the construction industry has been finalised.

The Aveng board announced Jardine's resignation this morning after five years at the helm of the company.

Jardine said now is an appropriate time to step down as the Competition Commission's investigation is completed and the settlement agreement confirmed by the competition tribunal last month will provide a fresh platform to move forward.

He said the investigation process has been very taxing personally as he has had to deal with matters that occurred before his appointment and of which he had no personal knowledge of.

The first collusion issues came to his attention shortly after he joined the company.

He said he had a duty as CEO to see the group through the process.

The board has announced that financial director Kobus Verster will assume the role of acting CEO from 1 September.

It said the nominations committee of the board will begin the process of finding a replacement.

COLLUSION

Last month, the Competition Tribunal wrapped up a two-day hearing and started assessing the R1.4 billion settlement agreement reached by 15 firms and the Competition Commission.

The commission's original probe uncovered widespread anti-competitive behaviour in the industry, including tender-rigging in projects worth more than R47 billion.

The projects included the construction of the 2010 FIFA World Cup stadiums, the Gautrain, hospitals, dams and bridges, and upgrades to airports and highways.

The tribunal dealt with each of the 15 agreements individually, raising questions about whether guilty directors were punished.

The commission's Trudy Makhaya said the companies were forced to answer tough questions. The tribunal questioned the companies about how they disguised "loser fees" to other firms and whether they punished those implicated in collusion.

She said while some firms showed genuine remorse, others appeared to try to justify their actions.

Organisations like Corruption Watch were given a chance to call for criminal prosecutions.

The tribunal will now decide whether the fines imposed on the companies are appropriate.

The commission said a final ruling may take longer than normal because of the number of companies and documents involved.