South African government through its rail, port and pipeline company Transnet could have lost Ksh30 billion (R4 billion), if it were not for the intervention of a private forensic investigator, Paul O’Sullivan.
Transnet had entered into a Ksh30 billion contract with CMC di Ravenna, which was dubious according to a whistle-blower within the company in 2018.
O’Sullivan pioneered the formation of Forensics for Justice, a platform that allows citizens to volunteer information regarding corrupt deals for investigation.
In an interview with South African business magazine Biz News, they were able to stop the alleged theft within a weekend, after months of investigation.
O’Sullivan and his team received a call from the whistle-blower, and picked up the case immediately. He then met Transnet officials in an unofficial meeting and verbally told them of the findings.
“We went to Transnet; we met with them on the Friday. When we met with them, it was an informal discussion. We met with the new acting CEO, the legal officer and the Head of Capital Projects and I said, “Well, this is what we’ve uncovered”.
“They were shocked to the core. They asked us whether we could put it in the form of a report and we said, “We’ll let you have the report by Sunday” or Monday in fact, but we sent the report to them on Sunday evening.
To their utter shock, the investigators got a response letter on Monday saying that they’ve (Transnet) had taken the decision to suspend the contract.
“Now that has to result in a celebration and we made the comment that the state capture, certainly as far as Transnet is concerned, is formally over,” he said.
According to the magazine, the case is the one that opened the eyes of Kenyan watchdogs who raised eyebrows on the Arror and Kimwarer dams scandal that has rocked the high and mighty.
The Ksh21 billion scandal has seen the fall of the former Treasury CS Henry Rotich and his PS Kamau Thuge, who have been implicated in the scandal.
“The Forensics for Justice investigation into a corrupt R4bn contract granted by Transnet to CMC di Ravenna has led to a warrant of arrest being issued in Nairobi for the Italian multinational’s former SA manager Paolo Porcelli. He is believed to be hiding out in Italy,” reported the magazine.
“O’Sullivan’s team did further research into the Italian company, digging around in Gdansk Poland and in various African countries, found more corrupt activities and provided reports to the governments in the affected countries,” adds the paper.