Questions over senior city official’s past ‘salary’

2016-04-18 11:02
Dr Ray Ngcobo.

Dr Ray Ngcobo. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Controversial Msunduzi deputy municipal manager Dr Ray Ngcobo has left a trail of questions surrounding his former employment at the Sisonke Development Agency (SDA).

Among the questions is why his “salary” was listed a number of times on the then Sisonke District Municipality’s “Irregular Expenditure” register.

His company, Dr Raymond Ngcobo Independent Economist CC, was appointed in 2011 to assist the Sisonke District (now Harry Gwala District) to establish a development agency.

Thereafter, in his personal capacity, he was appointed acting CEO and then CEO of the agency, until he resigned in March 2013.

Ngcobo’s name is listed more than 10 times in the Irregular Expenditure register covering a period from July 2011 to June 2012, with numerous large amounts paid into his account and listed as “salary”.

By definition, a salary is a “fixed regular payment, typically paid on a monthly basis”. However, according to documents seen by The Witness, Ngcobo was paid fluctuating amounts.

Dr Raymond Ngcobo Independent Economist CC appeared to have been paid a salary of R104 037,83 on August 2, 2011 and Ngcobo was paid R97 384 in his personal capacity on August 26, 2011.

On November 25, 2011, his company received a salary of R118 835,34 and Ngcobo was paid a salary of R111 335,33 on November 29, 2011.

Harry Gwala District spokesperson Zekhethelo Ndlovu said the payments varied because of different hours worked, as well as other disbursements. However, she did not explain why these amounts were listed as irregular.

Ndlovu confirmed, however, that auditing company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) conducted an investigation into the Sisonke Development Agency for irregular payments made during 2012 and 2013.

In the PwC report, it was determined that Ngcobo was a director of 10 entities. It was also discovered that he shared directorship of Ziphozethu Trading, which received R207 173 in two payments, also identified as irregular, from the agency.

The auditors also revealed that Ngcobo indicated in an interview that he never signed any Declaration of Interest forms while employed at the agency.

Ndlovu said Ngcobo was not suspended during the investigation, but resigned in March 2013. It is unclear whether he resigned before the investigation was completed.

Ndlovu said the completed report of the investigation was tabled to the board of directors of the Sisonke Development Agency, but did not elaborate on the outcome.

Recently Ngcobo was named by suspended Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi as the culprit behind “financial misconduct and maladministration” in the municipality. The Witness confirmed Ngcobo is already facing serious disciplinary charges, but has never been suspended.

• kailene.pillay@witness.co.za

RESPONDING to questions via his lawyers, Majola and Company Attorneys in Durban, Dr Ray Ngcobo said he resigned as CEO of the Sisonke Development Agency to take up his current position at Msunduzi.

He said he could not answer why his salary was listed under “Irregular Expenditure”, and directed all related questions to the Harry Gwala District Municipality.

However, his lawyer Thami Majola said the “assertion” that Ngcobo was paid twice is incorrect, and that the “fluctuations were a result of changes in working hours and running costs”.

Majola added that all Ngcobo’s business interests were declared to the SDA, and “none were in conflict with the SDA”.

“Irregular expenditure incurred by the municipality cannot be explained by somebody that never worked for the municipality, but was only a consultant. The SDA was a new entity that did not have its own financial systems and procedures, and it completely relied on the municipality for payment under the Local Economic Development vote,” said Majola.

Read more on:    msunduzi municipality  |  pietermaritzburg  |  corruption  |  fraud

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