SIU: Midvaal investigation

2011-12-03 12:46

A wide range of management issues, ­spanning a period of more than nine years, are ­being investigated at this ­municipality.

During the first 11 months of the probe, the Special Investigating Unit has focused on serious systemic gaps which affect ­service ­delivery and leave the municipality open to corrupt behaviour, fraud and mismanagement.

These relate to, among others, alienation of land, procurement irregularities, poor asset management, irregular appointments, financial mismanagement and problems with waste management.

» Procurement: The unit is reviewing two ­contracts with a combined value of more than R50 million. In the first, a contract was allegedly awarded to a service provider who wasn’t the lowest bidder, and the payments were made using ­fraudulently submitted invoices.

A criminal case has already been opened. In the second case, a service provider allegedly had unfair access to municipal data when tendering for the provision of legal ­services. It is also alleged that R1 million worth of legal services were procured over a two-year period without a competitive procurement process.

» Asset management: The municipality has been accused of failing to record assets in its asset register, resulting in insurers refusing to pay out for damages.In one instance, the municipality suffered a loss of R60 000 when an advertising billboard was ­destroyed by fire and the insurer refused to pay.

» Human resources: The SIU is reviewing personnel files of top management and councillors to ensure that business interests have been disclosed. It is also cross-referencing information with Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office (Cipro) and the municipality’s supplier database, and is ­reviewing recruitment and appointment processes for senior staff to verify compliance with procedures.

» Financial mismanagement: The SIU has identified 93 municipal officials who owe the municipality about R400 000 in rates and taxes. It has also ­prioritised the top 100 municipal debtors in terms of water and electricity accounts. Payment arrangements have been made by the unit, resulting in about R29 million being paid to the municipality to date.

» Grants: An initial scan of the 2 500 people on the municipality’s database related to indigence has shown that 202 are reflected on the Home Affairs database as deceased. At least 14 are already receiving other government grants and so should not qualify in terms of the indigent policy. Fifteen are permanently employed in a state department.An additional 372 are listed on Cipro as directors of companies and 115 as owners of businesses.

» Conflict of interest: An initial scan has revealed 99 employees have directorships in businesses. The unit is currently confirming whether these interests were declared as well as establishing if these officials’ businesses have done business with the municipality.

» Waste management: Four municipal landfill sites are operating without complying with legislative requirements, and it doesn’t appear that the municipality has a licence to operate them.

» Alienation of land: Potential irregularities have been identified in sales of execution. It’s alleged that the legal processes followed to obtain summonses, in respect of at least 85 properties, are flawed.

» Issuing of town-planning certificates: It is ­alleged a service provision certificate was issued for a new housing development ­despite the total lack of installed services.

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