Johannesburg - Pikitup boss Amanda Nair’s woes continue, with the company’s board claiming that she misled them when she bought advertising in several newspapers rubbishing stories The Star had written about her.
This comes as it emerged that she allegedly awarded a R263 million tender to a company fingered in alleged fraud and that she took legal action without the mandate of the Pikitup board.
On Monday, the chairwoman of Pikitup’s board, Dr Nomonde Mabuya, confirmed she had instructed Nair to stop pursuing legal action against The Star. She said Nair did not have a mandate from the board.
Nair made an application in the Johannesburg High Court for the return of the forensic report which implicated Aqua Transport & Plant Hire in wrongdoing.
“I don’t see how it’s going to benefit us. She never came to us as the board when she decided to take legal action. Therefore there was no resolution that was passed by the board,” Mabuya said.
The Star recently revealed how a multimillion-rand tender was awarded to Aqua Transport & Plant Hire, a company implicated in alleged fraud by Ernst & Young.
The audit firm also recommended that Pikitup should consider laying criminal charges against Aqua and that the company should repay the money it had overcharged the utility.
Mabuya said she spoke to Pikitup’s lawyer Lester Peter.
A Pikitup official, who did not want to be identified, said Nair was in serious breach of corporate governance for failing to inform the board that she was taking legal action against The Star.
“That is flawed, you can’t go to court without the mandate of the board because it will have legal implications,” he said.
Pikitup spokeswoman Desiree Ntshingila was unable to respond to queries on Monday.
The Star has learnt that Nair misled the board when she approached them to pay R228 000 for placing media adverts to promote the utility’s projects.
To their surprise, Nair had taken out full-page adverts in the Daily Sun, Sowetan, Business Day and The Citizen attempting to defend her stance in granting Aqua the tender.
One of the officials who spoke to The Star on condition of anonymity said: “The agreement was that the advertorial was going to promote Pikitup’s projects, not use ratepayers’ money to defend her stance for awarding the tender. The advertorial was also supposed to be placed in The Star as well.”
In the advert, Nair said the committee had recommended that Aqua be given the contract. This is despite the fact that the committee met in January and refused to recommend that Aqua be granted the contract.
She also says there was full compliance with all tender processes.
Last week, the Pikitup board commissioned an independent probe into Nair’s controversial awarding of the tender. The board has also started putting together information to assist it with the investigation and was in the process of appointing the company that would conduct investigations.