Question posted in the General Law category relating to Gauteng
I started working for Company X as a temp in 2013 and part of my job included procurement. In 2014/2015, there was an internal investigation as a result of a whistle-blower. I was asked to provide clarity about a particular service provider (Provider B) and the procurement of goods from them which I assisted. Two Executives and a number of staff members were suspended while pending the disciplinary hearing and most of them resigned before going to the hearing. As part of the internal investigations, It turns out that Provide B was the boyfriend to my Executive and it's not something we knew.
Soon after starting the job at Company X, my Executive (who got suspended and later resigned before the disciplinary hearing) asked me to buy promotional material. Being new, I followed the procurement process and requested a quote from the contracted promotional provider (we can refer to them as Axco). Upon receiving the quote, I prepared a requisition form for approval from my Executive who then said to me I should ask my colleagues who I must source this specific material from but it is not Axco. Because such a purchase was done before, Provide B was a registered supplier on the database, I got Provider B's details and proceeded with the procurement process.
After a year or so, we as a team tried to suggest to our boss that we look at a new item instead of buying the same product from Provider B and the reason is that the stakeholders won't appreciating the item/gift (we ran events and it was always the same stakeholders so they have had enough of this bag and wanted new items). Another challenge is that other providers won't responding anymore when I was asking for quotes as I needed 3 quotes depending on the final cost. So these providers got tired of responding but not getting the job. Boss declined our request a suggested that we draft a Deviation Memorandum that would state that Provider B will be the provider moving forward for promotional material specifically for this event. This removed the process of sourcing additional quotes as well. I used the internal template to proceed in drafting the memo as suggested. My Senior Manager reviews and then shared with the Executive to approve, then the Executive of finance approves and the CEO approves and the Memorandum is implemented and valid for a year.
We used this Deviation Memorandum moving forward. Fast track after the resignations of some of the Executives and my Senior Manager, additional questioning was done internally and I assisted when and where I could. I left the company in 2018 as I got a new job.
Last year, Company X reached out to me to get on-call with their lawyers which I assisted again because I thought it would then end of it. Fast forward, last week, a detective from the SIU called me and asked me to come in for questioning and to provide more clarity about Provider B. I am not sure what more clarity is required as I already did recordings from Company X. Company X has opened a Civil Case against the Executives.
Can I refuse to not go because I have provided all that they needed and was at their disposal when I worked there and cooperated? I am also starting to feel scared because of the stories we heard about the executives. So much has happened in my life from domestic violence, losing family and now with the pandemic, and I also had to be booked off work for some time for my wellness. I don't even remember what I ate last week and I just feel working at Company X has been traumatic. Provider B always rendered or delivered what was procured and the quality was good so I am not sure what the issue is besides having a relationship with my Executive which we won't be privy to. The process was followed.
You're advise would be greatly appreciated!