Bad fil­ing sees R1m dis­ap­pear

The New Age (Gauteng) - - FREE STATE NEWS - KAMOGELO SEEKOEI kamo­ge­los@the­newage.co.za

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.

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