Perumal off the hook

2011-10-26 00:00

KEVIN Perumal, one of four deputy municipal managers blamed for the downfall of Msunduzi Municipality, has won his disciplinary case and is back at work.

He has been cleared of all charges levelled against him by the provincial intervention team that took over the running of the municipality.

Perumal (42), who was suspended from work for the last 18 months, appeared before the disciplinary committee about 20 times between August last year and Friday last week when he was found not guilty.

His acquittal has stirred up anger within the municipality with many officials condemning the gung-ho approach of the intervention team.

Officials who did not want to be named said the intervention team did not do its homework; instead it had conducted a witch-hunt for scapegoats to blame for the municipality’s financial collapse.

Certain people were targeted, but many who should have taken the blame were not charged, they said.

“This was nothing more than a political cover-up,” said a municipal insider.

Perumal’s acquittal was confirmed on Monday by his advocate, Shane Moodley, who said the charges against his client emanated from a forensic report compiled by Firm, a forensic investigations company.

“These charges had nothing to do with the financial crisis of the municipality or the meter-reading contract. In fact, not a single allegation of dishonesty or personal enrichment was levelled against Kevin Perumal,” he said.

Perumal is the only person to have been charged so far in terms of the Firm report, said Moodley, although it has implicated a number of other officials, both within and outside the municipality.

The Firm investigation was instigated by former local government MEC, Mike Mabuyakhulu.

An issue of contention often raised by opposition parties is that former municipal manager Rob Haswell never implemented the recommendations of the report, even after they had been adopted as a council resolution.

Perumal was the only official charged after a 2006 raid by the Scorpions on offices of several senior managers.

He pleaded not guilty to alleged travel and subsistence abuse in the amount of R30 000.

Moodley said the criminal charges against Perumal were added to a list of other charges presented to him at his disciplinary hearing. He added that since his client was found not guilty of all charges by the disciplinary committee, it begs the question whether that process should go ahead in criminal court.

In a statement to From page 1

family and friends, who supported me throughout. In particular, I would like to thank my wife, Patty, and my beloved children who stood by me … as well as my spiritual father Pastor Thamo Naidoo and the Eldership of the River of Life Christian Ministries.”

“Lastly, but certainly not least, I would like to thank my Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, to Whom all thanks and praise must be given for His wisdom and grace that sustained me during this difficult ordeal.

“Knowing that I was innocent all along did not make the financial and psychological burden borne by my family and myself any easier.

“I understand that the process of testing the allegations against me was a valid and important process undertaken by the municipality and I am thankful for having had the opportunity to clear my name.

“I look forward to continuing my service to all the people of this city as I return to work, knowing that a lot has to be done to make this city proud again,” said Perumal.

Several attempts to get comment from administrator Sibusiso Sithole by phone and SMS were unsuccessful by the time of going to print.

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