The Mail & Guardian’s Centre for Investigative Journalism, amaBhungane, recently published an exposé detailing how Neotel’s auditors, Deloitte, blew the whistle on R100 million in questionable payments to company called Homix.
There are allegations that these payments were linked to a bid to secure R2 billion worth of business from Transnet.
According to the report, Deloitte questioned the “commerciality” of the fees and reported them to the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors (IRBA).
It has also subsequently been revealed that Transnet had previously awarded two CCTV projects to Neotel, worth R835 million, without going to tender.
In response Neotel has commissioned a law firm to conduct its own investigations and have placed CEO Sunil Joshi and CFO Steven Whiley on special leave.
Neotel told amaBhungane that to the best of its knowledge, the investigation commissioned by the board made no finding of corruption or illegal activities. Transnet has also denied any involvement.
There is speculation that the scandal may affect the acquisition of Neotel by Vodacom, a deal which is in its final stages.
According to Sunday Times reports, David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, has said that the deal will not go ahead until the questions around suspected bribery are settled.
Apart from the bribery allegations, losing deals with Transnet could have a large influence on Neotel’s financial situation.
Vodacom has offered no official comment on the situation.