IFP goes to court for corruption report

2012-12-10 19:35
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Durban - The Inkatha Freedom Party on Monday lodged an application in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban in a bid to compel the eThekwini metropolitan municipality to publicly release a 700-page forensic audit report on fraud and corruption.

The IFP is asking the High Court to rule that the municipality's decision not to release the report in its entirety be declared unlawful and unconstitutional.

The municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Co-Operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube, as well as the authors of the report, auditing firm Manase and Associates, have been listed as respondents in the application.

They have 15 days to notify the court of their objection to the application.

The IFP's Lourens de Klerk said the IFP would do "whatever it takes" to get the Manase report released.

In October, provincial co-operative governance and traditional affairs spokesperson Lennox Mabaso, said councillors could see the report, but would have to sign a confidentiality clause that would prevent them going public with its contents.

In September, the Democratic Alliance said it would also be seeking the court's assistance in getting the report released. It is not clear when they would file their application.

The DA's caucus leader Tex Collins, said he had made three applications in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The first was for the release of the Manase Report and the second for an earlier forensic report by the accounting firm Ngubane & Co.

The third application was for municipal manager Sbu Sithole to release the legal opinion he obtained, which apparently advised against releasing the Manase report.

Collins said he did not believe there was ever any such legal advice obtained.

The forensic audit by Manase and Associates was instituted after Auditor General Terence Nombembe said in his 2009/10 report that the municipality had irregularly spent R532m.

Accusations against a number of senior officials were made.

According to Nombembe's report, 10 councillors had business interests with entities conducting business with the eThekwini municipality.

The African National Congress has backed the decision not to make the full report public.

ANC Durban chairperson Sibongiseni Dhlomo said in August that releasing it would be unfair to the parties involved and would endanger the interests of the municipality.

An abridged version of the report was released by Dube in February. The city was supposed to release the full contents in July.

However, on 1 August, Mayor James Nxumalo said the full report would not be released.

He also cited prejudice to those involved.

Nxumalo said the municipality was hoping to make the full report public by the end of December, when all disciplinary process had been completed.

eThekwini municipal spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng, has also said previously that councillors could see the full report, but would have to sign a confidentiality clause -- a copy of which could not be obtained.

- SAPA
Read more on:    ifp  |  james nxumalo  |  terence nombembe  |  durban  |  local government  |  corruption  |  politics
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