Prominent sports administrator Gideon Sam allegedly offered the "open chequebook" bribe.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA 5 Mar2012
An alleged attempt to influence one of South Africa’s biggest state tenders with an “open chequebook” bribe was effectively swept under the carpet by the high-level committee deliberating on it in 2008. Top advocate Norman Arendse said his first step was to call his secretary immediately to record the incident and he reported it to the adjudication committee the following day. The alleged bribe was offered on behalf of Cash Paymaster Services (CPS).
The committee resolved that he should write to CPS to record Sam’s alleged approach.
On the same day the committee finalised its report, which recommended that no tender should be awarded “because the evaluation process was completely and utterly flawed”, Arendse said. A subsequent version of the contract, worth R10-billion, was awarded to Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) this January.
The committee included Arendse, department of social development director general Vusi Madonsela, public service director general Richard Levin, treasury deputy director general Marion Mbina-Mthembu and treasury chief director Willie Mathebula.
CPS director Serge Belamant confirmed receiving Arendse’s letter, but his lawyers replied at the time that the company did not know of Sam, or a bribery attempt.
Speaking for both the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), to which the committee reported, and the department of social development, Lumka Oliphant confirmed Arendse’s account, but said the alleged briber’s “particulars cannot be confirmed”.