The South African Revenue Service (SARS) today announced that a tender involving the supply of information technology (IT) hardware worth about R100 million, has been cancelled.
This announcement follows the press release issued on Wednesday 1 October 2003, when SARS indicated that preliminary investigations by the SARS anti-corruption unit uncovered tampering with SARS procurement processes from an external agency. This raised serious concerns about the integrity of the tender process.
We have since uncovered further evidence indicating continued external interference in the tender process.
In the past week, attempts were made to intimidate, threaten and corrupt our staff. These actions would have severely compromised the integrity and outcome of the tender process.
We have communicated this message to all the bidders for the tender. We have warned that anyone found interfering with a legitimate procurement process would be disqualified and blacklisted.
SARS is extremely concerned about the unethical and improper behaviour that pervades certain sections of the IT industry, particularly in the PC industry.
As an organisation mandated by Government to execute its mandate as a tax and revenue administration with integrity, honesty and fairness, we want to warn individuals and agencies that their attempts to abuse government processes will be uncovered, investigated and prosecuted with the full force of the law. We have also taken steps to ensure that attempts to co-opt any members of staff have been thwarted.
As SARS we want to reiterate our commitment to remain vigilant in rooting out fraud and corruption and that we would make every effort to defend the integrity of our organisation and guard the confidence the public entrusts in us as a government institution.
A hotline number has been dedicated for anybody either inside or outside SARS to report any information pertaining to this tender process: 0800 203 766.
The general SARS anti-corruption line remains: 0800 0028 70 We would also want to warn business entities who continue to transgress customs regulations that it will be futile to continue activities of non-compliance.
The tender will be re-issued as soon as possible. This decision was made with the full support of the Minister of Finance.
ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR THE SOUTH AFRICAN REVENUE SERVICE