Officials paid R7m to stay at home

2012-07-05 14:32

The water and environmental affairs department has paid nearly R7 million to eight officials suspended for misconduct since 2009.

The officials include axed former director-general Pam Yako, suspended corporate services deputy director-general Nobubele Ngele, axed chief financial officer Onesmus Ayaya and three chief directors and two directors, according to a parliamentary reply by Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

Responding to questions from Congress of the People (Cope) MP Juli Killian, Molewa said Ngele, who previously acted as the department’s director-general, has applied to the Labour Court to review her suspension.

In total, the officials were paid R6 778 466.30 to stay at home.

The two directors are still on suspension, pending the outcome of their disciplinary enquiries.

Two years ago, the auditor-general found that Yako and Ayaya had irregularly extended a R500-million contract with IT company Arivia.kom for 49 months.

National Treasury regulations limit contract extensions to 12 months.

Under Yako’s leadership, the department incurred R1 billion in irregular expenditure from irregular extension of contracts, deviation from procurement policies and the paying of service providers without contracts.

Yako was suspended by former Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica.

Molewa revealed that her department laid criminal charges against a director, who is accused of fraud and corruption.

She said where the department suspects employees of engaging in fraudulent or corrupt activities it refers such matters to its internal audit unit, the SA Police Service (SAPS) and or the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

“On the findings of either the internal audit unit, SAPS or SIU, the employee concerned will be disciplined and criminally charged,” Molewa said.

She said after a successful conviction, the state attorney was instructed to pursue an order to recover whatever was lost as a result of the fraud and corruption.

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