Inquiry needed into rot at CIPRO - DA

Andricus van der Westhuizen asks why honest officials are being hounded out

Cipro tender claims: minister must authorise an independent inquiry

The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies must authorise an independent inquiry into the alarming situation at the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro), and also ought to consider steps to suspend the Valor IT tender, pending the results of such an investigation. 

It is extremely concerning to note that details emerging before the South Gauteng High Court point to possible tender rigging involving senior officials at Cipro. It has already been confirmed that poor internal controls have led to tax fraud and the duplication of company names. The continued suspect activities at Cipro are very worrying, given that this body is supposed to act as gatekeeper and protector for business.  In the end, millions of taxpayer rands are wasted without getting proper service for small companies - quite the opposite in fact - and we thus urge Minister Davies to state publicly what action is being taken to resolve these serious matters.

Of particular concern is the alleged role of some of Cipro's senior staff - like the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Dr. Michael Twum Darko, in the allocation of the questionable tender for R152,7 million to a small and little known closed corporation (ValorIT). The next tender on the shortlist was for R60 million. In other words, more than R90 million appears to have been overspent on a company that seems to have had virtually no experience. Faritec Ltd., a bigger, more experienced and cheaper company with excellent BEE credentials was not used.

Michael Twum Darko












Michael Twum Darko

It is further alleged that Twum Darko has never been vetted by the NIA, as is required of a person in his position. As the CIO of Cipro he has access to some of the most sensitive data in government's care, and it is of the utmost importance that his security clearance is beyond question.  It is also alleged that Twum Darko is still a Ghanian national. It is reported that this would preclude him from obtaining the necessary security clearance for his current post.

It is also concerning to note that staff and contractors that have reported cases of possible corruption and maladministration appear to be subject to serious harassment and some have seen their service contracts cancelled.  It is a sad comment on the situation in our country when particularly those people that are trying to fight corruption are subjected to this treatment.

In addition to urging the minister to authorise an investigation, the DA will submit parliamentary questions on this matter at the earliest opportunity.

Statement issued by Andricus van der Westhuizen, MP, Democratic Alliance deputy shadow minister of trade and industry, September 27 2009

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