NPA won’t charge former Msunduzi municipal manager

2011-08-05 00:00

FORMER Msunduzi municipal manager Rob Haswell, who resigned before the provincial intervention team took over the running of the beleagured capital’s council last year, will get off scot-free without being charged.

Msunduzi administrator Sibusiso Sithole summoned the media yesterday to the city hall to give an update on the progress of proscecutions of suspended senior managers and to shed light on other investigations the municipality is undertaking.

The administrator told the media that the council submitted evidence to the SA Police Service commercial crimes unit and to the KwaZulu-Natal director of prosecutions in January about charging Haswell criminally for the financial mismanagement that took place in the municipality under his watch.

Sithole said the charges against Haswell relate to his role as the council’s accounting officer under the Municipal Finance Management Act.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan confirmed that the case to investigate Haswell was handed over to the commercial crimes unit, which did further investigations and concluded the matter.

Jeevan said the findings of the investigation were then forwarded to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for it to make a decision whether to prosecute.

She revealed, however, that the NPA had declined to prosecute Haswell, but could not elaborate.

Provincial NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson, when asked why the NPA declined to prosecute Haswell, said, “We are still sourcing information and will respond as soon as we are able to.”

When this was made known to Sithole, he said it is news to him that the NPA has declined to prosecute Haswell.

“Our understanding is that these issues are still pending and we are going to engage with officials at the highest level from law enforcement agencies,” said Sithole.

He said that if the NPA has decided not to prosecute Haswell it would have informed him of its decision because the evidence against Haswell is strong.

Sithole’s sentiments were echoed by a spokesperson for the KZN Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lennox Mabaso, who reacted by saying, “We will take that [NPA comment] as hearsay until the NPA formally informs us in writing about the decision to decline to prosecute Haswell.”

Attempts to get hold of Haswell were unsuccessful yesterday as he was on holiday.

His wife, Penny, said, “Rob cannot comment on the administrator’s report because he had not seen it,” and added that they were both out of town on the coast.

SUSPENDED deputy municipal manager for community services Zwe Hulane has resigned after reaching a settlement with the council’s administration.

This was disclosed by administrator Sibusiso Sithole yesterday.

Hulane joins other suspended senior managers who have quit.

Former chief financial officer Roy Bridgmohan resigned in February while former procurement manager Francis Grantham resigned in April.

Sithole said the council agreed to pay Hulane four months’ salary because the municipality would have been faced with paying him an equivalent of his annual salary to force him resign.

The administrator said all the former managers will not be immune from prosecution if the council decides to press criminal charges or sue them to recover money.

Although there is an offer from suspended human resources deputy municipal manager Kevin Perumal to resign, said Sithole, his matter has not been finalised.

Hulane and Perumal could not be reached for comment.

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