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Director of S.Africa IT firm charged with attempted police bribe

Source: Reuters - Tue, 25 Mar 2014 10:28 GMT
Author: Reuters
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(Recasts with police confirmation, adds details)

JOHANNESBURG, March 25 (Reuters) - An executive director of South Africa's Pinnacle Holdings has been charged with offering a $460,000 bribe to a senior police official to win an equipment contract for the technology company, police said on Tuesday.

Takalani Tshivhase allegedly offered the 5 million rand bribe to a Lieutenant General in the South African Police Service (SAPS) in exchange for a multi-million rand contract to supply police with devices used in investigations, SAPS said.

The 59-year-old, who has denied the charges, was arrested by the police's elite anti-corruption unit earlier this month and was released on bail the same day. His court case has been postponed until April 24 to allow for further investigation, police said.

Pinnacle said in a statement that there was "no reason to doubt the veracity" of Tshivhase's denial, based on the evidence available to the company.

Shares of Pinnacle, which manufactures and distributes information technology hardware and software, tumbled 18 percent on the news, to 16.40 rand by 1016 GMT.

Pinnacle is not the first company to come under scrutiny over awards of government contracts in Africa's biggest economy.

U.S. technology firm Net 1 UEPS Technologies said in 2012 it was being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI into whether it made "corrupt payments" to South African government officials to win a contract with the national welfare agency. ($1 = 10.8610 South African Rand) (Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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