Nkandla: Civil servants put under pressure to ‘destroy the evidence’

2014-10-05 08:00

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Government officials were ordered by ministers, directors-general and a state security officer to destroy documents related to the Nkandla project.

This is what officials of the public works department will testify when they face departmental disciplinary hearings to account for the wastage of public money in the controversial R246 million upgrade to President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla residence.

At least three of the 13 officials being charged claim they were ordered by ministers, directors-general and a senior departmental security officer to destroy all evidence of what was raised at secret meetings to discuss the Nkandla project.

The accused officials say they and their colleagues were told to leave no paper trail or recordings of many “special” Nkandla meetings held during the construction period.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they are facing disciplinary hearings and are yet to formally present their evidence before the hearing.

The charges against the 13 officials include financial misconduct, allowing irregular spending and failing to follow tender procedures.

Three government departments – public works, defence and police – were intimately involved in the upgrades. The officials were not specific about the individuals who gave the orders, saying the information will be handed to the hearing.

Among the damning claims being made by the officials are that:

»?Before they entered meetings, they were instructed to leave phones in their cars so no recordings could be made;

» Personal notes had to be left behind when the meetings were over so no written record could leave the room;

» Orders were given that no recording be made at some progress meetings and site meetings; and

» Orders were given that recordings must be stopped after only a few seconds or minutes of a meeting’s commencement.

» For more on this story, get a copy of City Press newspaper today

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