Yesterday (Wednesday) an attorney representing a construction company and auditors of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) were securing images of the contents of ten laptops of Roads Agency Limpopo (RAL) that were allegedly used during a recent tender process.
It is alleged that RAL was stubborn to hand over the laptops to PWC for a digital forensic investigation, despite a court order obtained last Thursday, but an agreement was reached on Tuesday evening between the respective parties’ legal representatives that RAL will comply in terms of the order resulting in images being made of the hard drives of the laptops at the time of going to print.
Attorney Sonel Pienaar representing a construction company who tendered for the upgrading of the D1392 road in Sekhukhune District on Thursday approached the Polo-kwane High Court to obtain an interdict to order RAL to provide PWC with the laptops as agreed upon earlier.
According to Pienaar the tenders was submitted in May and the winning contractor was announced in August. “My client did not succeed in the tender bidding process and we submitted an application for access to information to determine why my client’s bid was not accepted. The reason provided was that my client did not submit a tax clearance certificate which according to him, he did,” Pienaar said.
RAL allegedly produced a forensic report from the computers used in the evaluation and adjudication meetings and agreed to hand over the laptops by 9 November in order for the applicant and PWC to conduct their own investigation into the matter.
“They asked for extension to Monday last week and again to the following day. On Thursday the court was approached for an interdict but RAL still refused. The sheriff was then authorised to seize the laptops and hand them to PWC,” Pienaar said.
One laptop was retrieved from RAL late Friday afternoon after several excuses from RAL’s management. Pienaar alleged that RAL on Friday said it was already late and that people went home with the laptops.
“On Monday the sheriff and representatives of PWC again approached the RAL offices only to be advised that members of the evaluation and adjudication committee are not obliged to work from the office and that they use their laptops at home.
Pienaar said the images will be sealed and taken to a third party where it will be accessed later for further investigation.
RAL Spokesperson Bernard Manyathela said neither he nor the CEO Maselaganye Matji are aware of the court order or the process to make images of the hard drives.
He wished not to comment on the matter.
Story: RC Myburgh
Photo: An attorney, Sonel Pienaar on Thursday obtained an interdict to order RAL to hand over laptops used during a recent tender process for digital forensic investigation.