UNTOUCHABLE’ SENIOR GOVT OFFICIAL STILL NOT CHARGED 10 MONTHS LATER
Asenior official under the ministry of public works and transport allegedly damaged a government car about 10 months ago and deliberately failed to report it.
In fact, the official boldly and proudly told anyone who asked about the incident that he was not going to report it, claiming he was untouchable.
This assertion is now believed by the junior officials within the ministry as being true following that the matter involving the senior official has been investigated for the past eight months without any disciplinary action being taken against him.
“He was asking us what had happened since we reported the vehicle abuse. He said nothing will happen, citing that no hearing has been staged after the outcome of the investigation which pointed to him,” said one of the officials.
The officials said they had no response seeing as the official was not facing any disciplinary action for the abuse and failure to report the accident.
Other officials wondered what was stopping the law from taking its course as a report was submitted to the principal secretary on the matter.
Early in the year, the ministry of public works and transport launched a probe over a missing government vehicle that was last authorised to a senior government official within the ministry.
Launching the investigation, CTA General Transport Manager Washington Khumalo in April said he had received a letter from the principal secretary, requiring him to explain how the vehicle disappeared.
“It is a fact that the vehicle has disappeared, and I recently enquired about it. I just received the letter from the principal secretary seeking clarity and facts on the matter,” he said at the time.
Khumalo stated that he was out of the country on the day the vehicle was released and as such he was not instantly aware of the officer who had requested the car but gave assurance that by the next day, the investigation would be concluded.
“I was in South Africa and I had left someone to act in my position.
“I will have to launch my own investigations and think by three or four after lunch, I would have established what really took place on the 15th of February or thereabout as the date is subject to confirmation,” he said.
Khumalo said the probe would provide clarity on who was the last to get authorisation to use the vehicle, to which destination and its mission wherever it was, as well as who had authorised it. The senior officer being probed is alleged to have on February 15, 2018 requested for authority to cross the border to Mozambique, though it is unclear whether the trip was official or not.
The ministry has been without the vehicle registered GSD 129 CT since mid-February to this day after allegedly being authorised by the deputy general transport manager who was stand- ing in for Khumalo when he was out of the country.
The vehicle was reportedly involved in an accident while in Mozambique, and the officer and his driver allegedly sustained minor injuries.
After intense investigations, the ministry of public works and transport found the remains of the government vehicle that was allegedly last authorised to a senior government official who failed to return and report it as per the stores’ regulations.
Ministry of Public Works and Transport Principal Secretary Makhosini Mndawe confirmed the breakthrough in July and promised to crack the whip.
“The car has been found, we are now carrying out the assessment of the damage since we have recently found it. Once the assessment report is out, all the regulations pertaining to the authorisation and reporting of government vehicles will be implemented.
We will divulge who was driving it and whether he had the authority and if there was criminality it will be dealt with accordingly,” he said in July.
The PS stated that the damage of the vehicle was extensive.
He emphasised that the law was to be followed to the letter, adding that he would like to see justice being done as the ministry was against the misuse of government vehicles.
The officer who was authorised to use the vehicle was said to have violated the stores regulations which require that the accident should have been reported within 24 hours.
The procedure involves filling in an accident form accompanied by a police report. However, in this case, all of these documents are not available.
Police at the time said the vehicle had not been reported to them, either as missing or being involved in an accident. Sources are of the view that the flouting of the procedure was deliberate as there were allegedly moves to replace the vehicle with another one within the ministry of public works and transport. Mndawe when called this week said there was soon to be a hearing of the officer concerned and once again, promised that action would be taken on the matter.
He could not, however, explain what has caused the delay regarding the disciplinary process of the officer.
Staff members from Ezulwini Spar pose for a picture with their new uniforms for this festive season. All the branches countrywide will be using these uniforms.
The damaged car repair. that would cost approximately E300 000 to