Former GCIS boss says he changed tender processes because of irregularities

Mzwanele Manyi has been testifying at the state capture commission in Parktown, responding to Phumla Williams’ testimony implicating him at the commission.

FILE: Mzwanele Manyi. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former Government Communications head Mzwanele Manyi has admitted to changing tender processes at the organisation as previously claimed by acting director-general Phumla Williams but says he did so because there were irregularities.

Manyi has been testifying at the state capture commission in Parktown, responding to Williams’ testimony implicating him at the commission.

Williams testified earlier this year and claimed Manyi irregularly changed the tender processes, placing all final decisions under him.

Manyi has defended his decisions.

“Did I change a bid committee, and did I dismantle the bid committee? Yes, I did. Do I apologise for that? Definitely not. It got to my attention that something had gone horribly wrong in the procurement space where, chairperson, there was an irregular appointment of a particular service provider.”

‘PHUMLA WILLIAMS AT THE CENTRE’

Manyi has accused Williams of being at the centre of multi-million rand tender irregularities at GCIS.

Manyi replaced Themba Maseko in 2011 as CEO after Maseko was fired for allegedly defying an instruction by former president Jacob Zuma to “help” the Guptas, who were demanding that GCIS media spend be channelled to The New Age (TNA) newspaper.

Manyi claims there was a lot of corruption happening at GCIS before his arrival.

“Chairperson, every rule that could be broken was broken. The splitting of invoices flouted policies.”

He says Williams was at the centre of irregularities.

“All of this was in the empire of Ms Williams. What she had done ... all supply chain reported to her.”

Manyi has admitted that he did change tender processes because there was a “mini VBS” at the organisation, referring to the VBS Mutual Bank scandal in which almost R2 billion was stolen over three years by 53 individuals, including executives and politicians.

INVESTIGATION

The state capture commission's legal team has revealed that its investigations have uncovered some information about Manyi’s conduct in relation to inappropriate government procurement to favour the Guptas business.

The commission’s advocate Vincent Maleka says they want to question Manyi about some inappropriate procurement processes that were structured to favour the TNA newspaper.

“The commission has managed to gather information through its own investigations about the conduct of Mr Manyi in relation to those procuring.”

Maleka adds: “Another issue we would like to explore is his involvement in the inter-ministerial committee that was constituted to deal with the allegations that the banks had inappropriately dealt with bank closure of the Gupta-related accounts.”

The commission wants to ask Manyi about the TNA Newspaper and ANN7, which he eventually bought with the help of its owners, the Guptas, and what happened to the businesses when they no longer enjoyed government support.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)