Cape Town – A Cape Town tenderpreneur says he has lost his life’s savings after falling victim to an elaborate Covid-19 tender scam.
The man said he paid R87 000 to the thieves who first posed as City of Cape Town employees, and then claimed to sell government-approved masks.
The man, who asked not to be named as he is busy conducting his own investigation, says he received an email from the City, inviting him to bid, which was “approved” last Thursday in an email.
“I received a tender from the City for the supply of 8500 masks,” he explained.
“I then sourced these from a supplier called Milan Medical Suppliers.
“They provided me with a quote and I paid R87 000, my life’s savings, into the account which was half of the amount.
“I have been in the tender game since the beginning of the year and I am always cautious about scams.
“I have a suspicion that this might be an inside job. The acceptance letter from the City even had the stamp on.”
The City logo on the “procurement letter” was pixellated, and provided a Pretoria contact number, even though the tender is for the City of Cape Town.
The man says he was supposed to receive the masks on Thursday, but on Wednesday he went to the City’s offices in Cape Town to validate his tender and was shocked to learn that he had been scammed.
He then went to find Milan Medical Suppliers’ address in Bolt Avenue in Montague Gardens, but there was nothing.
The man did not indicate how he learnt about Milan Medical Suppliers.
On their website, the company says: “Milan Medical Suppliers is an acronym of African Medical Systems. We specialize in the sales of affordable hospital equipment in an effort to equip under-privileged health institutions in the African continent with the most advanced medical equipment.
“We are among the pioneers of the concept of professionally handled patient transfers in Central Africa; during this period we have managed to claim a substantial percentage of the market share for medical equipment sales.”
When the Daily Voice called the telephone number of the company, it did not work.
A cellphone number was, however, answered by a woman who confirmed that they are in the medical supply business.
When the Daily Voice explained the reason for the call, she put down the phone.
The City confirmed its Forensic Investigation Unit was aware of the fake emails and is conducting an investigation.
“The City of Cape Town is aware of fake Request for Quotations (RFQ) being sent to City suppliers, requesting them to respond as if it is being sent from the City.
“Please report suspicious emails to the City urgently for further investigation.”