Mike Sutcliffe: Why I didn’t report ‘wrongdoing’ to police

2013-07-24 01:17

Former Durban city manager Mike Sutcliffe has again denied that the municipality had suffered a loss of R1.1 million – or any loss – as a result of his alleged failure to report wrongdoing.

The Manase Report into corruption and maladministration in the city, which was released in full yesterday following a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application, states that following the appointment by Sutcliffe of the Ngubane investigation into some city transactions in 2008, he was aware of alleged illegal actions around the city’s Mariannridge housing projects, but failed to report them to the police.

Ngubane gave his report to Sutcliffe in early 2009, but the latter sat on it instead of going to the police, the report says.

“It would appear that the former city manager contravened Section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act (PCAA) … in that he failed or neglected in his capacity as municipal manager to report prima facie evidence and information in his possession in the form of a report drafted by Ngubane and Co during 2009,’’ it said.

The report recommended that the city move to recover R1.1 million and take action against the companies involved in the alleged fraud and corruption.

Sutcliffe told City Press today that he had investigated Ngubane’s claims about Mariannridge but had found that there had been no loss to the city.

“I investigated and found that the R1.1 million had been for paint for the council flats. I was shown vouchers for the paint. There was no loss. The left-over paint was even kept by the city,’’ he said.

He added that the city’s legal team had advised him not to report the matter to the police as there “was nothing to report”.

“The report was given to the former mayor, not me. It was he who should have reported it to the police, if anyone should have,’’ he said.

The Manase Report also details an alleged attempt by former mayor Obed Mlaba to have waste-reduction contracts given to a company he (Mlaba) had shares in. However, the city and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), have both failed to take action against Mlaba, who is now tipped for a plum diplomatic post in the UK.

When the allegations were put to Mlaba by Daily News in February last year, he said he may call a press conference to “clarify some of the issues”.

Last month, the SABC quoted Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube as saying: “There is no sanction against the former mayor because he is no longer a councillor but also the municipality did not lose any money resulting from him not declaring (his) interest. The reason also is that the municipality had not come to the tender stage.”

Mlaba could not be reached for comment.

» Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the Manase report accused Sutcliffe of sitting on a report by Ngubane and Associates that implicated Mlaba for two years. This is not correct. While the Manase report stated that the former mayor had attempted to benefit from a tender as mentioned in the Ngubane report, which Sutcliffe received in February 2009, it did not criticise Sutcliffe for failing to report this to the police. It did, however, state that Sutcliffe was guilty of contravening the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act by failing to report corruption in the Mariannridge city housing project for two years. We regret the error.

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