Charge mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s CFO

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - SANDI KWON HOO CHIEF RE­PORTER

THE SEC­TION 106 re­port into al­le­ga­tions of shock­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties at Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, which has been with­held from the pub­lic, has or­dered that crim­i­nal charges be laid against the chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer (CFO), Ly­dia Mahloko, and that the mu­nic­i­pal man­ager, Goolam Akhar­waray, face dis­ci­plinary steps for fail­ing to act against the CFO.

The Depart­ment of Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance, Hu­man Set­tle­ments, Tra­di­tional Af­fairs (Cogh­sta) was ad­vised that both of­fi­cials should be sub­jected to life­style au­dits.

The for­mer ex­ec­u­tive mayor of Sol Plaatje, Man­gal­iso Matika, has largely been ex­on­er­ated from wrong­do­ing, in the re­port that was leaked to the DFA yes­ter­day.

How­ever, he will still be sub­jected to a Hawks in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his may­oral res­i­dence and car rentals.

Matika re­signed from of­fice in Septem­ber, fol­low­ing an outcry from the com­mu­nity, wide­spread protests and a court bat­tle.

The re­port in­di­cated that it was ev­i­dent that the ini­tial com­plaints were “not against the po­lit­i­cal of­fice of the ex­ec­u­tive mayor, but against the ad­min­is­tra­tion”.

“How­ever his (Matika’s) lack lus­tre and/or re­luc­tance to act de­ci­sively al­lowed op­por­tunis­tic el­e­ments to jump on the band­wagon, de­mand­ing his re­moval from of­fice.”

It re­marked that Mahloko’s abuse of of­fice had con­trib­uted to the “neg­a­tive ap­pre­ci­a­tion of her char­ac­ter” by em­ploy­ees of Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The task team or­dered that all cap­i­tal projects dat­ing back to 2016, in which the CFO was in­volved, be in­ves­ti­gated for non-com­pli­ance with sup­ply chain man­age­ment pro­cesses and whether she ex­erted any un­due in­flu­ence in the award­ing of ten­ders.

“The CFO ma­nip­u­lated the process for the ap­point­ments of Bi­gen Africa for the Ler­ato Park bulk link ser­vices and V3 for the IDP project. Dur­ing the con­struc­tion of two new multi-pur­pose courts at the Galeshewe Sta­dium, the CFO stalled the process by not re­leas­ing the nec­es­sary in­for­ma­tion un­til the R15 mil­lion mu­nic­i­pal in­fra­struc­ture grant was for­feited by the Depart­ment of Co-op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance, Hu­man Set­tle­ments and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs.”

The re­port pointed out that the a wrong per­cep­tion was cre­ated that there was no fund­ing for the up­grade and con­struc­tion of the Galeshewe Sta­dium.

“Fund­ing was pro­vided and due to the de­lay the project is not pro­gress­ing. It was agreed dur­ing a meeting with the mu­nic­i­pal man­ager, CFO and project man­ager, that the project would pro­ceed. How­ever the CFO, de­spite the col­lec­tive agree­ment, stalled the process with dire con­se­quences for the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of the project.”

The task team in­di­cated that Mahloko had led ne­go­ti­a­tions with the con­sult­ing engi­neer for the Gogga pump sta­tion dur­ing May, with­out the knowl­edge of the project man­ager and Key Per­for­mance In­di­ca­tor owner.

“The CFO sub­mit­ted the name of El­li­ci­dor 178 CC as her pre­ferred sub-con­trac­tor with re­gards to the Gogga pump sta­tion project di­rectly to the con­sult­ing engi­neer.”

It has been rec­om­mended that the re­la­tion­ship be­tween El­li­ci­dor and Mahloko be in­ves­ti­gated.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity was in­structed to tighten its in­ter­nal con­trols.

“The CFO was al­legedly abus­ing the elec­tronic pay­ment mech­a­nism.”

The task team in­di­cated that it was risky for a non-ex­pert to lead ne­go­ti­a­tions on mat­ters where the CFO did not pos­sess the re­quired skills and ex­per­tise.

“The prac­tice of the CFO cut across the mu­nic­i­pal­ity as she also led ne­go­ti­a­tions in the IT sec­tion, much to the dis­con­tent of the chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer.”

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