The sentence: 3 years’ prison
It’s a hot topic yet again, and honest tenderers can take heart from the effective sentence of 3 years’ imprisonment recently imposed by the Supreme Court of Appeal on a man convicted of tender fraud relating to the Free State Education Department’s 2001 tender for the delivery of school books. A failure to disclose in the tender declaration that a person connected with the tenderer was employed by the province and married to an MEC in the provincial government was, the Court found, a fraudulent misrepresentation prejudicial both to other tenderers and to the community at large.
The Court held that the seriousness of the crime required a custodial sentence, despite the mitigating circumstances:
- The personal circumstances of the fraudster (a 40 year old family man with 5 dependent children and no criminal record),
- The relatively modest amount involved (R364,033), and
- The fact that the department itself had suffered no monetary loss (the successful tenderer had given full value for its tender).
“Fraud in the procurement of state tenders” said the Court “is a particularly pervasive form of dishonest practice. It undermines public confidence in the government that awards tenders, apparently without regard for nepotism, and it creates perceptions unfavourable to the services provided pursuant to such tenders. It is proving notably difficult for the authorities to identify and root out such malpractices. The courts are obliged to render effective assistance lest the game be thought to be worth the candle.”
So if you lose out on a tender as a result of fraud, know that our courts are on your side – fight back, report it!
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