News

Lerato Serero
2 minute read
12 Aug 2020
12:38 pm

Emfuleni municipality ‘taking all steps’ after R670m looting saga

Lerato Serero

The municipality incurred irregular expenditure of R670m. 33 of its current and former employees, as well as private companies, are now being fingered.

The Sheriff of the Court seizes property worth hundreds of millions at the Emfuleni Local Municipality offices in Vanderbijlpark, 11 March 2020, for their non-payment of 2.3 billion debt to Eskom. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The Emfuleni Local Municipality has announced that it will be taking “steps” to recover misused funds totalling at least R670 million by 33 of its current and former employees, as well as private companies.

Emfuleni’s supply chain management and the fleet department employees are among those implicated in a report by forensic investigation company Comperio, which revealed massive looting within the municipality during the past five years.

According to Comperio chief executive officer Elsje Oosthuizen, the company’s forensic team concluded its investigations into tenders awarded to and payments made to 15 contractors in November 2019. However, no one was subsequently charged.

The municipality incurred irregular expenditure of R670,595,793.74 due to contracts not being concluded in line with regulations, contracts not being extended following due process and procurement processes being manipulated by altering the bid evaluation scores.

The probe uncovered a seemingly systematic processing of duplicate payments, fraudulent transactions pertaining to the transfer of contracts, as well as overcharging on agreed monthly fees.

The municipality’s mayoral spokesperson, Lebo Mofokeng, said that Emfuleni mayor, Gift Moerane will embark on disciplinary action following the outcomes of the investigation regarding irregular, fruitless and unauthorised expenditure.

“The executive mayor, Moerane, on Friday, 7 August 2020 received a progress report from the municipal manager, Lucky Leseane, pending disciplinary action to be rolled out by the municipality, which amongst others, is informed by the Comperio forensic investigation.

“Today, we can with certainly report to the people of Emfuleni Local Municipality that we are taking all steps to implement consequence management, which is envisaged to recover funds which were incorrectly appropriated.”

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Mofokeng said that further details would be provided in due course, once consultation has been finalised with all relevant municipal stakeholders.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the province has called on Premier David Makhura and the Gauteng MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), Lebogang Maile, to urgently intervene in the matter to ensure the municipal manager cooperates with the investigations and provides all the necessary support to Comperio.

This article first appeared on Sedibeng Ster and was republished with permission. Additional reporting Sipho Mabena.

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