Baggage of allegations may be too heavy for Acsa boss
Maseko’s job is on the line as he also faces criminal probe
● The future of Airports Company SA (Acsa) CEO Bongani Maseko is hanging in the balance as he nears the end of his five-year stint, with no certainty that he will be asked to remain at the helm for another term, while a possible criminal investigation looms.
Maseko, whose five-year term expires in two weeks, has for two years weathered a storm of allegations over corruption and corporate governance breaches, managing to cling to his position despite a determined handful of Acsa board members baying for his blood.
This includes surviving a February 3 2017 board resolution that he be disciplined, and at least two forensic reports revealing breaches of supply chain policy and Public Finance Management Act regulations.
These relate to contracts worth more than R20-million awarded to an attorney, Paul Ranamane, who was struck off the roll in 2016 and a marketing firm, Incentive Driven Marketing (IDM), hired to manage the fallout as allegations against Maseko became public.
IDM, owned by Dominic Ntsele, was appointed by Maseko in September 2016 on an emergency basis.
Publicly, Maseko has maintained his innocence, saying he would welcome disciplinary action so that he could state his case and clear his name.
Meanwhile, Business Times has learned that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is considering whether to institute charges against Maseko relating to allegations made by a group of “concerned employees” who have written numerous letters to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking for his intervention.
In a letter dated April 5 addressed to the group of employees, known only by the e-mail handle they use, “Zinhle Lolo”, the NPA confirmed a case opened against Maseko at the OR Tambo police station had been handed to the director of the Commercial Crimes Unit for a decision. Transport Minister Blade Nzimande must now consider the reappointment of Maseko while also having to appoint a new board. A spokesperson for Nzimande did not respond to questions sent this week.
An Acsa spokesperson said in response to questions: “We have not been able to address all questions raised. Some of these issues are at various stages of investigation and/or still require board discussion and resolution. It would therefore be premature for us to deal with such matters at this point in time.”
When asked why the board has failed to act against Maseko despite two forensic reports finding possible wrongdoing, Acsa said: “This matter dates back to 2016 and the board is best placed to respond as to why this matter remains open.”
The latest forensic report conducted by Open Water Advanced Risk Solutions recommends among other things that both the board and Maseko be subjected to further investigation.
Dr Steve Mabela, who resigned from the Acsa board last month, was the only board member to respond to queries.
“Due to political interference, the removal of board members by the deputy minister of transport during the AGM of 2016, and, including but not limited to, postponements of the meetings time after time,” were reasons Mabela gave for the apparent failure by the board to act.
“The executive then saw fit (without informing the board) to challenge the court order under an urgent application during March 2018. It must be kept in mind that this is being done with taxpayers’ money without board approval or resolution. The question, therefore, arises as to who granted approval for this action. No valid reasons exist why the board should be defending its own resolutions in a court of law,” Mabela said.
Maseko has for two years weathered a storm of corruption allegations