The former premier of the Free State Ace Magashule allegedly gave an instruction that the province’s department of human settlements should ensure that it enters into a contract with a particular contractor, Rochel (sp) Else, for them to build houses in Kroonstad and that the contractor’s payments should be expedited.
On Wednesday, former head of the department of human settlements in the Free State, Mpho Mokoena was completing his testimony at the commission on the R1-billion housing project.
Mokoena told the chairperson of the commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo that Magashule’s instructions were communicated to him by former Free State MEC for human settlements Mosebenzi Zwane.
Mokoena also told Zondo that Magashule, as well as all the province’s MECs and the provincial heads of departments, were present at an EXCO meeting where a representative from national Treasury raised concerns about the financial implications of the scheme that was run at the time to pay material suppliers in advance and that this was wrong.
Mokoena said Magashule, as premier at the time, did not come up with a conclusive and detailed “decision” about what to do with the concerns raised by National Treasury.
Mokoena proposed to the commission to make use of national Treasury’s BAS financial system to obtain information on all the payments made to contractors and material suppliers during December 2010 to December 2011.
Zondo heard that Zwane had conceived a “solution” which would address the department’s underspending to ensure that it would not lose a portion of its budget.
The “solution”, which Mokoena described as illegal during his testimony on Tuesday, involved prepayments being made to suppliers, Zondo heard.
Zondo also heard that the department also paid money to suppliers, sometimes in cash, which was destined for contractors.
The chairperson of the commission also heard that the department abandoned its right of retention when it entered into contracts with builders who would construct houses for the project and that the money which was meant to be withheld as a retention right was paid over to the contractors.
Zondo heard that Zwane was allegedly involved in the selection of contractors for the housing project.