Monday, September 21, 2020

Lionjanga defends not declaring personal interest in tendering companies

The Chief Executive Chairman of the Public Procurement and Assert Disposal Board, Armando Lionjanga, on Wednesday confirmed to Court that he and the current Minister of Defence and Security, Dikgakgamatso Ndelu Seretse, did not declare their “personal interests” in Board meetings they have held after the 23 of March 2003.

Asked why he did not declare his interests, Lionjanga told Court that he did not declare his “social interest” in Board meetings that considered tenders which took place after the 23 of March, 2003 because those other meetings were still dealing with the same issue of tenders to supply dry skimmed milk to the Ministry of Local Government and Lands.

He said this during a trial in which he is charged with having failed to declare his interest during the awarding of tenders to four companies that include Eastgate, owned by his nephew Kagiso Makgekgenene.

Lionjanga also told the Court that he did not know whether Seretse has also been charged.

When asked by the prosecutor, Ambrose Mubikwa of the Directorate of Public Prosecution, if the PPADB Act does not require them to declare their interests in each meeting, Lionjanga said that it refers to instances where someone has financial interest in a company.
When it was put to him by Mubikwa that the PPADB Act does not mention “social interest”, Lionjanga said that they came up with the concept in order to make sure that compliance of the Act and transparency are strictly adhered to.

That statement was then supported by a statement made by a Mmopi member of the Board in a statement he made to the Directorate of Corruption and Economic crime in which he said that members were expected to declare their interests in meetings and that those with financial interests are, after declaring their interests, asked to recues themselves whilst those with personal interest are allowed to stay.
Lionjanga admitted in court that he had known that Eastgate belonged to his nephew Makgekgenene but that he did not know that his sister, the mother to Makgekgenene, was a share holder in the company.

Lionjanga also denied that he had personal interest in the company and that it was a family business because even his brother, Arlindor, worked for it.
The PPADB Chief Executive denied knowing that his brother worked for it.
When asked by his lawyer, Sydney Pilane, if he had any financial interests in the company, he denied that.

Asked if he had uttered something when the award of tenders was taking place, he said that he had uttered somethings but that the utterances had something to do with the procedure of the meetings and nothing to do with the award of the tender as that was to be addressed by board members.

When asked by Mubikwa if he would have voted if there was a need to do so before a tender to Eastgate was awarded, he said he would not have voted.

The award of those tenders, he told the Court, were finally made by consensus and that there was no need to vote.

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