/ 8 December 2008

Telkom denies reports of shady deal

Telkom on Monday denied any wrongdoing in a multibillion-rand tender that would help improve its broadband services.

”The unfounded allegations … indicating a flawed procurement process and the alteration of documents in favour of the successful bidder are refuted by the company,” the communications services giant said.

This followed a report in Sunday’s Business Times that CEO Reuben September allegedly pushed through a multibillion-rand tender despite it being shrouded in controversy and claims of corruption.

The tender, put out by Telkom, was for the provision of a microwave system to be used in cellphone base stations and Telkom’s broadband wireless access network.

It would help the company improve its capacity to provide broadband services, the report said.

”Telkom’s tender processes are extremely stringent. The decision to award the tender to Ericsson and Telsaf Data was discussed and carefully considered by the company’s executive committee after a recommendation by the company’s procurement review council,” the company said.

It added that the company followed a procurement process that involved participation by teams made up of people taken from several of Telkom’s business areas, to prevent unilateral decision-making.

”The procurement process for this bid involved recommendations from various procurement committees. In the best interests of the company, the executive committee decided that the successful bidder would best be able to provide the technical equipment required.”

Telkom said the unsuccessful bidder, Maredi Telecommunications and Broadcasting, achieved unsatisfactory scores in certain critical categories of the tender and was disqualified.

”Telkom has of late been making tremendous strides in the execution of its strategy and is particularly proud of its compliance to King 2 and Sarbanes-Oxley governance procedures,” it said. — Sapa