Mayor’s car bought through third party

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

THE MAY­ORAL ve­hi­cle that was used by for­mer Sol Plaatje ex­ec­u­tive mayor Man­gal­iso Matika – an Audi Q7 with a price tag of R1.1 mil­lion - was pur­chased through a third party with­out any writ­ten in­struc­tion.

The Sec­tion 106 in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port has rec­om­mended that crim­i­nal charges be laid against the sus­pended chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer (CFO), Ly­dia Mahloko, after she ver­bally in­structed the ac­coun­tant cred­i­tors to pay LSOGA Projects (Pty) Ltd for the ve­hi­cle.

The ac­coun­tant cred­i­tors had hand­writ­ten on the face of the in­voice that Mahloko had tele­phon­i­cally re­quested her on Fe­bru­ary 26 to “im­me­di­ately ef­fect pay­ment, with­out any writ­ten in­struc­tions”.

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion task team pointed out that the fact that the re­quest was never sub­mit­ted in writ­ing amounted to a “clear vi­o­la­tion of sup­ply chain man­age­ment pro­cesses” and went against “best prac­tices”.

“The re­fusal of the CFO to pro­vide a writ­ten in­struc­tion is puz­zling. Is it be­cause she did not want to leave a pa­per trail of her in­struc­tion. If yes, why not?”

Fleet

The task team also found dif­fi­culty in un­der­stand­ing why an amount of R5.6 mil­lion was paid for a fleet of ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing the Audi Q7, through LSOGA Projects, in favour of the “nor­mal ac­cept­able mo­tor ve­hi­cle deal­er­ship”.

The re­port in­di­cated that fruit­less and or waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture could have been avoided if the for­mer may­oral ve­hi­cle – a Mercedes-Benz E500 – was prop­erly main­tained and re­paired.

“The Mercedes-Benz was al­lowed to ac­cu­mu­late more than 150 000 kilo­me­tres, which ul­ti­mately led to its con­stant break­ing down and un­nec­es­sary cost to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“The un­nec­es­sary, un­ex­plain­able de­lay in re­plac­ing the Mercedes-Benz led to fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture as no rea­son­able care was taken to ad­here to the South African Lo­cal Government As­so­ci­a­tion (Salga) may­oral hand­book.”

The task team found the re­port drafted by the CFO for the fi­nance com­mit­tee on April 18 to be “shock­ing, not help­ful” and “an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of the CFO pass­ing the buck”.

“Any CFO worth his or her salt is re­spon­si­ble for the ap­proval and or rec­om­men­da­tion of costs within the en­tity she serves. There­fore for a CFO to pro­claim oth­er­wise is in­deed un­ac­cept­able. The so-called jus­ti­fi­ca­tion that there was a bud­get is legally un­ten­able and can­not be con­sid­ered at all.”

It be­lieved that the CFO was “not up to date with the fi­nances of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity” and ad­vised that dis­ci­plinary mea­sures should be in­sti­tuted against the mu­nic­i­pal man­ager for fruit­less and waste­ful ex­pen­di­ture.

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