An 800km trip‚ hotel rooms‚ meals … then council gives bus firm R286m order

It also says BYD obtained broad-based black economic empowermnent certification irregularly‚ and that city manager Lungelo Mbandazayo is obliged to take action against the company “upon detecting that the B-BBEE status level of contribution has been claimed or obtained on a fraudulent basis”. It recommends that he seek counsel’s opinion first.

Bowman Gilfillan says the council is obliged to tell the police about suspected fraud and corruption in awarding the electric bus contract to BYD.

The law firm’s report contains detailed feedback from individuals against whom allegations are made and says mayor Patricia de Lille confirmed she would not have endorsed the trip approval report “had she been aware of BYD’s financial contributions”.

It recommends that “fruitless and wasteful expenditure” of R6‚600 — the result of the city having paid for accommodation which was not used — should be recovered from the individuals involved.

The report also recommends the establishment of a special committee to “determine the extent of the influence of Herron’s involvement in the BYD procurement”.

Eleven buses in a R128-million pilot project have been assembled by BYD and are parked in a yard in Cape Town’s northern suburbs‚ but they cannot be delivered until the investigation of the tender is complete.

Thursday’s council sitting comes a year after Craig Kesson‚ the executive director in De Lille’s office‚ filed an affidavit in which he made a series of allegations about the mayor. Many of his claims were probed during Bowman Gilfillan’s investigation.

Kesson’s affidavit followed Sunday Times revelations about alleged wrongdoing in the Foreshore Freeway Project and the procurement of the electric buses.

BYD (Build Your Dreams) is the largest bus manufacturer in the world. MidAmerican Energy‚ a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s flagship company Berkshire Hathaway‚ bought a 10% share in the company in 2008 for $230m‚ according to a Reuters article published at the time.

On Monday‚ TimesLIVE reported that Bowman Gilfillan recommends that De Lille be reported to the police for interfering with the duties of former city manager Achmat Ebrahim.

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