Council defrauded of R1?mln

2010-02-09 00:00

EMADLANGENI Local Municipality in Utrecht allegedly lost about R1 million to a thieving official recently.

The Democratic Alliance alleges that the matter has been taken up with the municipal manager, Velaphi Kubheka, but that no action has been taken against the official.

DA constituency MP Alf Lees said that although R2 million was spent on consultants to clean up the Emadlangeni finances and systems, fraud is still a problem in the municipality.

Last month The Witness reported that the Newcastle Municipality lost R10,5 million to fraud.

Lees alleges that the money at Emadlangeni was stolen from revenue received for the sale of pre-paid electricity.

“A DA councillor has obtained copies of records detailing the theft by an official responsible for handling cash received from the sales of pre-paid electricity.

“The councillor and his family have received death threats to stop him from exposing the fraud.

“It is shocking that the municipal manager has not taken action on the official,” said Lees.

Kubheka said he cannnot say whether the allegations are true or false.

“Before the October 2009 audit, the then acting CFO reported his suspicion about some irregularities with the electricity revenue,” he said.

“Because we have contracted vendors to sell pre-paid electricity, the problem is complex because we don’t know if it’s vendors or our employees who are at the root of the problem.”

He said the matter was reported to the province and the municipality is awaiting word from the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube, about how to proceed in the matter.

Departmental spokesman Vernon Mchunu said his department is aware of the allegations and is looking into matter.

Mchunu agreed that the department has a responsibility to monitor the functioning of municipalities in line with the provisions of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

The act stipulates that all revenue received by a municipality, including any money received by any collecting agency on behalf of the municipality, is reconciled monthly or more regularly.

Lees said that if this were so, thieving officials would be detected immediately before they could get away with huge amounts of money.

Mchunu said the department views any allegations of misuse of public money in a serious light and that appropriate action will be taken.

 

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