The assertion that Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) officials refused to cooperate with the investigations of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was untrue as the information provided to the SIU earlier was largely the same as that contained in the documents seized last Monday after the SIU obtained a court order, reckons LNW Chief Executive Phineas Legodi.
The SIU raided the offices of LNW and seized documents relating to a multibillion Rand water project in areas around Giyani. “The raid conducted by the SIU is an unfortunate incident which could have been avoided given the history of our engagement with the institution in relation to this investigation,” Legodi explained during a media briefing at the entity’s head office in the city on Friday.
“LNW is an institution of state just as the SIU is. Any engagement which bears a semblance of adversity and confrontation cannot be ideal and we respectfully submit that if indeed we obstructed SIU, there were numerous avenues it could have seized to deal with the matter other than search and seizure warrants. An example could have been a direct engagement with the Chairperson of the Board and if no joy is found, engagement with the department to which we report as a shareholder and owner of the Giyani project,” Legodi stated. He added that LNW bore no knowledge of any corruption and/or related criminal practices that took place in connection to this project. “To this end, it is only fair that institutions like the SIU that are endowed with the investigative wherewithal should do their work which in the end must help us appreciate the truthfulness of the allegations. It is therefore not in our interest as the subject of the investigations to have it drawn out,” Legodi said.
“In appreciation of the relations we seek to maintain as organs of the state, we have requested an audience with the LNW Chairperson and the Chief Executive Officer of the SIU. The duo will be meeting in the near future to iron out these and more of the concerns each of the institutions may be having against each other. We carefully chose intergovernmental engagement instead of any other path that may bear semblance of adversity and confrontation,” Legodi concluded.
In reaction, SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago confirmed that a meeting between the parties will take place soon.
He added that the SIU followed due process to obtain the court order and is throughout acting in line with the prescripts of the President’s proclamation.
Story: BARRY VILJOEN