Zim top brass bombed at elec­tion rally

Spe­cial au­dit finds that Collins Let­soalo was not due the hefty raise he gave him­self

Sunday Times - - Front Page - By CAIPHUS KGOSANA

● The au­di­tor-gen­eral has rec­om­mended that Collins Let­soalo, for­mer act­ing CEO of the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of South Africa, should re­pay all the money he awarded him­self by hik­ing his salary 350%.

In a spe­cial au­dit seen this week by the Sun­day Times, the au­di­tor-gen­eral says that Let­soalo — who is still a mem­ber of the Prasa board — should re­pay the money, but does not give a fig­ure.

Then-trans­port min­is­ter Dipuo Peters sec­onded Let­soalo to Prasa from the Depart­ment of Trans­port in July 2016.

Three months later he gave him­self a mas­sive pay in­crease, tak­ing his salary from R1.3-mil­lion a year to R5.9-mil­lion. Four months af­ter that, in Fe­bru­ary last year, the Prasa board fired him.

A Prasa man­age­ment re­port at the time said Let­soalo and other se­nior ex­ec­u­tives who re­ceived millions of rands in over­pay­ments, salary in­cre­ments, bonuses and pro­mo­tions were not en­ti­tled to the money and should re­im­burse the agency.

In firing Let­soalo, the Prasa board said it had passed no res­o­lu­tion au­tho­ris­ing the pay hike.

No change

When Peters sec­onded Let­soalo to Prasa, his let­ter of ap­point­ment said his salary, rank and se­nior­ity would not change, mean­ing he was not even en­ti­tled to the stan­dard 12% in­crease that man­agers who act in a se­nior po­si­tion nor­mally re­ceive.

How­ever, the High Court in Pretoria ruled in April last year that Let­soalo was en­ti­tled to be paid at the same rate as for­mer group CEO Lucky Mon­tana, who had re­ceived R5.9-mil­lion. The Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion came to the same con­clu­sion.

“These matters have gone to court and the court has de­clared on it. There’s no way the au­di­tor-gen­eral can go above the courts,” Let­soalo told the Sun­day Times this week.

The spe­cial au­dit was un­der­taken af­ter the au­di­tor-gen­eral found that Prasa omit­ted cru­cial in­for­ma­tion about over­pay­ments and ir­reg­u­lar con­tracts awarded when the ini­tial 2016-17 au­dit was per­formed.

Another Prasa ex­ec­u­tive al­leged by the

These matters have gone to court . . . There’s no way the au­di­tor-gen­eral can go above the courts Collins Let­soalo For­mer Prasa act­ing CEO

au­di­tor-gen­eral to have ben­e­fited from un­due over­pay­ments is Lindikhaya Zide, who was the com­pany sec­re­tary at In­ter­site and Au­topax, which are part of the Prasa group.

The au­di­tor-gen­eral said Zide should re­pay just over R420 000 he re­ceived be­tween Novem­ber 2015 and De­cem­ber 2016 but to which he was not en­ti­tled.

The spe­cial au­dit also found that Nathi Khena, who was fired as Prasa’s chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer in July 2016 but later re­in­stated, had re­ceived bonuses and leave pay­outs for the pe­riod that he was not at the agency. The au­di­tor-gen­eral said Khena should re­pay pay­ments for the months of Au­gust, Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber amount­ing to R660 000 which were wrongly made to him.

The au­di­tor-gen­eral also tracked the ca­reer pro­gres­sion of another ex­ec­u­tive, Pearl Mun­thali, from the po­si­tion of chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer to her ap­point­ment in July 2014 as CEO of the Prasa De­vel­op­ment Foun­da­tion at an an­nual pack­age of R2.9mil­lion.

Not en­ti­tled

It was found that she was not en­ti­tled to act­ing al­lowances she re­ceived each time she was moved to a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion.

The au­di­tor-gen­eral’s of­fice also ruled that her ap­point­ment as CEO of the foun­da­tion was ir­reg­u­lar be­cause there was no ev­i­dence that the foun­da­tion was op­er­a­tional.

“We fur­ther in­spected the cost cen­tre for the foun­da­tion to assess the na­ture of costs in­curred . . . It was noted that the only cost in­curred un­der the foun­da­tion’s cost cen­tre is salaries.”

The au­di­tor-gen­eral also wants the R2.6bil­lion paid to Swifambo Rail Leas­ing for the con­tro­ver­sial Afro 4000 lo­co­mo­tives to be paid back. Prasa awarded a R3.5-bil­lion con­tract to Swifambo in 2012 to sup­ply 70 lo­co­mo­tives. Swifambo pro­cured the lo­co­mo­tives from a Span­ish com­pany, in a con­tract that a court later ruled was in­valid.

Prasa re­fused to pro­vide a de­tailed re­sponse to the spe­cial au­dit, say­ing the orig­i­nal an­nual re­port for 2016-17 had not been ap­proved nor sub­mit­ted to par­lia­ment by the Depart­ment of Trans­port, its share­holder.

“Un­til such time as the au­dit re­port is fi­nal, Prasa is not in a po­si­tion to re­spond to find­ings that have not been taken through proper gov­er­nance pro­cesses and adopted as such. When the an­nual re­port is made pub­lic, Prasa will com­mu­ni­cate to the pub­lic how it is deal­ing with the find­ings,” said spokes­woman Nana Ze­nani.

Collins Let­soalo

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