City of Johannesburg employee suspended over R1.3bn broadband investigation

2017-07-21 14:10
City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press)

City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. (Leon Sadiki, Gallo Images, City Press)

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Johannesburg - A senior City of Johannesburg employee has been suspended pending a disciplinary hearing into allegations of misconduct, the city said on Friday.

City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said the allegations against the man employed at the department of economic development relate to contracts and payments linked to the Johannesburg Broadband Network Project made by the Metropolitan Trading Company (MTC).

Mashaba said the man had already been implicated in an independent forensic investigation which recommended corrective action be taken.

"He is seen to be deliberately frustrating an investigation into the city's seemingly inexplicable R1.3bn acquisition of the 900km broadband network.

"This acquisition was done through MTC, a municipal owned entity, which possessed no viable business plan nor had requisite capacity to run a broadband operation of this size."

No viable business plan

Mashaba said the suspended official refused to allow investigators access to a number of devices which are believed to contain crucial information relating to the investigation.

"The city has obtained a court order to create mirror images of the official's devices so as to preserve all information on the devices to ensure that potential key evidence relating to this investigation is not destroyed.

"The mirror imaging of the devices will be conducted by independent technology experts in the presence of the official and an independent supervising practicing attorney appointed by the court."

The Johannesburg Broadband Network Project was to provide access to broadband services and grant communities and businesses across Johannesburg affordable access to internet.

"The tender for the construction of a broadband network and ICT infrastructure was originally awarded on 19 December 2008 to a consortium. On 31 July 2014, the city terminated the agreement so as to operate the network itself through the MTC.

"On commencing operations on 30 September 2015, the MTC ended the 2015/16 financial year with a net loss of R54m."

He said by February this year MTC continued to function with no viable business plan.

"The astronomical losses made in the administration of this project are yet again an indictment on financial management in the city and this cannot be allowed to continue," said Mashaba.

Read more on:    herman mashaba  |  johannesburg  |  corruption

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