Bad filing sees R1m disappear
THE opposition DA in the Mantsopa local municipality has called for an investigation by the Hawks and prosecution of officials alleged to have defrauded the authority.
This is after a report from an independent investigation into possible financial misconduct in Mantsopa municipality revealed the local authority was defrauded of an estimated R1m by five municipal employees.
The party said while it welcomed the report, it wanted the council to refer the report’s findings to the Hawks for further investigation and possible prosecution of all those implicated.
The report was presented in the council by the disciplinary panel and an independent investigator, who were appointed to investigate the matter.
In January, the municipality confirmed the suspension of two officials from the Mantsopa local municipality for alleged fraud and corruption.
The two officials from the finance unit at the authority were suspended last Friday after some irregularities were discovered.
The municipal manager, Selby Selepe, has told The New Age that the municipality had also discovered the two officials had created ghost workers.
“We have informed the police about the matter and we are expecting to get more information relating to the case.”
At the time, the treasury MEC, Elsabe Rockman, said the suspension of the two officials was a sign that the provincial government was determined to fight fraud and corruption.
DA councillor Tania Halse said during the council meeting, the DA recommended that stringent disciplinary action be taken against those implicated, as suggested in the report’s recommendations.
“It is essential that the municipality pursues its own internal corrective measures on the issue, while the Hawks consider criminal charges,” Halse said.
She said the report revealed poor internal control within the municipality’s financial management and human resource systems, which failed to detect the fraudulent activities.
“A disorganised filing system was exploited by the fraudsters to illegally steal and misuse municipal money for their personal use.
“While the report has been sent to the Treasury and the auditor-general, it is essential that the Hawks conduct a criminal investigation to hold the fraudsters accountable for their illegal actions,” Halse said.
She said it was unacceptable that while the Mantsopa municipality was having difficulty delivering services to residents, municipal officials were syphoning off municipal funds through corrupt means.