The government tender bulletin published on 29 May carries a high alert warning from the Government Printing Works about scammers pretending to be representatives of the Government Printing Works (GPW) and using various schemes to swindle unsuspecting suppliers and service providers who fall into the trap and find themselves out of pocket and the scammers nowhere to be found.
The scammers use what appears to be authentic government stationery, logos and contact details using the names of actual existing officials – but on closer inspection the contact details are not the same as GPW’s and the contact details are all fictitious.
The ECA urges suppliers and service providers to read the following notice issued by GPW:
HIGH ALERT: SCAM WARNING! TO ALL SUPPLIERS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS OF THE GOVERNMENT PRINTING WORKS
It has come to the attention of the Government Printing Works that there are certain unscrupulous companies and individuals who are defrauding unsuspecting businesses disguised as representatives of the Government Printing Works (GPW). The scam involves the fraudsters using the letterhead of GPW to send out fake tender bids to companies and requests to supply equipment and goods. Although the contact person’s name on the letter may be that of an existing official, the contact details on the letter are not the same as the Government Printing Works’. When searching on the Internet for the address of the company that has sent the fake tender document, the address does not exist.
The banking details are in a private name and not company name. Government will never ask you to deposit any funds for any business transaction. GPW has alerted the relevant law enforcement authorities to investigate this scam to protect legitimate businesses as well as the name of the organisation.
An example of one of the e-mails these fraudsters are using is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Should you suspect that you are a victim of a scam, you must urgently contact the police and inform the GPW.
GPW has an official email with the domain as @gpw.gov.za – Government e-mails do not have ‘org’ in their e-mail addresses. All these fraudsters also use the same or very similar telephone numbers. Although such number with an area code 012 looks like a landline, it is not fixed to any property.
GPW will never send you an e-mail asking you to supply equipment and goods without a purchase/order number. GPW does not procure goods for another level of Government. The organisation will not be liable for actions that result in companies or individuals being resultant victims of such a scam.
Government Printing Works gives businesses the opportunity to supply goods and services through RFQ / Tendering process. In order to be eligible to bid to provide goods and services, suppliers must be registered on the National Treasury’s Central Supplier Database (CSD). To be registered, they must meet all current legislative requirements (for example: have a valid tax clearance certificate and be in good standing with the South African Revenue Services – SARS).
The tender process is managed through the Supply Chain Management (SCM) system of the department. SCM is highly regulated to minimise the risk of fraud, and to meet objectives which include value for money, open and effective competition, equitability, accountability, fair dealing, transparency and an ethical approach. Relevant legislation, regulations, policies, guidelines and instructions can be found on the tender’s website.
National Treasury’s CSD has launched the Government Order Scam campaign to combat fraudulent requests for quotes (RFQs). Such fraudulent requests have resulted in innocent companies losing money. We work hard at preventing and fighting fraud, but criminal activity is always a risk.
How tender scams work
There are many types of tender scams. Some of the more frequent scenarios are:
Fraudsters use what appears to be government department stationery with fictitious logos and contact details to send a fake RFQ to a company to invite it to urgently supply goods. Shortly after the company has submitted its quote, it receives notification that it has won the tender. The company delivers the goods to someone who poses as an official or at a fake site. The Department has no idea of this transaction made in its name. The company is then never paid and suffers a loss.
Or fraudsters use what appears to be government department stationery with fictitious logos and contact details to send a fake RFQ to Company A to invite it to urgently supply goods. Typically, the tender specification is so unique that only Company B (a fictitious company created by the fraudster) can supply the goods in question.
Shortly after Company A has submitted its quote it receives notification that it has won the tender. Company A orders the goods and pays a deposit to the fictitious Company B. Once Company B receives the money, it disappears. Company A’s money is stolen in the process.
Protect yourself from being scammed.
• If you are registered on the supplier databases and you receive a request to tender or quote that seems to be from a government department, contact the department to confirm that the request is legitimate. Do not use the contact details on the tender document as these might be fraudulent.
• Compare tender details with those that appear in the Tender Bulletin, available online at www.gpwonline.co.za
• Make sure you familiarise yourself with how government procures goods and services. Visit the tender website for more information on how to tender.
• If you are uncomfortable about the request received, consider visiting the government department and/or the place of delivery and/or the service provider from whom you will be sourcing the goods.
• In the unlikely event that you are asked for a deposit to make a bid, contact the SCM unit of the department in question to ask whether this is in fact correct.
Any incidents of corruption, fraud, theft and misuse of government property in the Government Printing Works can be reported to:
Supply Chain Management:
Ms Anna Marie Du Toit on (012) 748 6292 or at Annamarie.DuToit@gpw.gov.za
Marketing and Stakeholder Relations:
Ms Bonakele Mbhele on (012) 748 6193 or Bonakele.Mbhele@gpw.gov.za
Mr Daniel Legoabe, on (012) 748 6176 or at Daniel.Legoabe@gpw.gov.za
The Government Gazette is available free online at www.gpwonline.co.za