Nothing will stop NHBRC probe – minister

2011-07-11 09:16

The human settlements department will not be deterred from rooting out corruption in the National Home Builders Registration Council (NHBRC) and in the housing sector throughout the country, it said today.

“We again reiterate that any culprit who wants to hide behind any minister has a surprise coming.

Such culprits will be pursued relentlessly in order to recover whatever losses suffered by the taxpayer, particularly the poorest of the poor,” the department said in a statement.

The department was more than aware that certain people within the NHBRC suspected of wrongdoing, having put severe question marks upon their integrity, were attempting to mislead the media and public at large about their culpability.

“For the record it must be noted that Ms Vanessa Somiah is the senior Special Investigations Unit (SIU) official, who having been entrusted with the sensitive investigation of, among others the CEO of the NHBRC, Mr Sipho Mashinini, ended being recruited by the self same person into the NHBRC top management,” it said.

Nothing that Somiah or others might say would undo the fact “that she jumped from the SIU having been entrusted with this sensitive investigation and ended up gaining employment within the NHBRC.

This constitutes a serious conflict of interest.”

Nothing would change the fact that such a senior post given to her by Mashinini within the NHBRC, which required ministerial approval, did not get such approval by the Minister via the NHBRC council.

“This appointment was irregular.

“Nothing that she or others may say will change the fact that she was granted a salary of R1.3 million plus benefits, which falls within the ministerial salary bracket, way above approximately R700 000 she was earning at the SIU.”

Nothing would change the fact that her departure from the SIU and her negotiations with the NHBRC chief executive were kept away from her SIU employers, when it was important for good governance purposes to declare her future employment within the NHBRC to the SIU.

“Nothing she or others might say would hide away the complete shock and bewilderment on the part of NHBRC workers, particularly the whistle-blowers, when they saw the senior SIU investigator walking into NHBRC premises having been appointed to a senior position by the same CEO they had raised issues about,” it said.

“Nothing she or others may say will change that both she and Mr Mashinini are now suspended by a unanimous resolution of the council of the NHBRC and not the untruth which Ms Somiah has told her lawyers that she is not suspended but is on maternity leave.”

Nothing would take away that having been thus exposed, she had through her lawyers demanded from the department an immediate payment of R1 million for what she regarded as damage to her integrity, “while strangely, in a subsequent letter within days through the same lawyers, is requesting an amicable solution”.

“Nothing she or others may say will make us retreat from pursuing people who have acted in a questionable manner, hoping to muddle issues by concealing themselves and their evil deeds behind innocent ministers such as the previous housing minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

“Their fabrication that the investigation is intended to embarrass any minister is laughable because through their own actions they have tarnished their own reputations and embarrassed themselves.

“The department’s resolve and political will under the leadership of minister Tokyo Sexwale to see through this investigation remains undiminished,” it said.

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