KZN probes stalled

2010-01-20 00:00

THE outcome of a number of forensic inquiries into KwaZulu-Natal’s Social Development Department have yet to see the light of day.

One inquiry involves the disappearance of assets being transported from Ulundi, the former provincial capital, to Pietermaritzburg. The disappearance of these assets that never reached Pietermaritzburg contributed to the department receiving a qualified audit for the second year in a row. This was because the department’s asset records were incomplete.

MEC Meshack Radebe pointed out that the problem resulted from his department being the last to move from Ulundi to Pietermaritzburg and that it did not previously have an asset register.

He said an investigation will reveal what happened to the items that did not reach the city.

Radebe would not give more information on the investigations conducted within his department. He said the reports cannot be made public until they are presented to cabinet. He added that steps that involve the freezing of bank accounts and other assets of the culprits have yet to be carried out. He confirmed that a lot of money is involved and alleged that “high-profile” people are implicated.

Both the Inkatha Freedom Party and the Democratic Alliance expressed concern over the number of forensic investigations carried out in the department that are awaiting public scrutiny.

The DA’s Johann Krog estimated that the amount may involve more than R200 million.

Krog slammed the delays, pointing out that provincial Treasury had made recommendations about the investigation of fraudulent activities in the Sustainable Livelihood Projects as far back as August 2008.

He said the recommendations had been handed to the department for implementation. However, to date, nothing seems to have happened. “This is yet another example of a cover-up.”

The department head, Bheki Nkosi, gave the following update on the investigations in Social Development:

The 2007 Spider Weir/Gadget:

This involved officials using computer software to steal from the department. Nkosi said the Scorpions were investigating the matter and officials were suspended. However, with the demise of the Scorpions the investigation fell away and the officials had to be re-instated. The investigation has since been reopened with the Special Investigation Unit.

Procurement Irregularities

involving Advocate Mdladla:

The report is being finalised to present to law enforcement authorities so that criminal proceedings can be instituted against the individuals and organisations implicated. Internal disciplinary hearings are being prepared and improved controls have been implemented in the supply chain.

Investigation into the ‘Emerging Learning Experience’:

An independent investigator has been appointed to deal with this matter. Nkosi said that to speed up investigations, the province needs to formalise a committee for managing forensic probes. This committee should include the Special Investigation Unit, crime combating units, the State Attorney and the SA Police Service.

 

 

 

 

 

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