SIU guns for SABC execs

2012-09-22 19:05

Broadcaster wants to recover funds lost while former bosses were at the helm

Six former SABC bosses may face criminal charges and civil claims to recover millions of rands lost by the public broadcaster in irregular, fraudulent and corrupt deals in which they were allegedly involved.

The group includes former chief executive Dali Mpofu, who could face a civil claim for his alleged involvement in the R326-million digital migration contract the SABC signed with Siemens.

City Press has studied a report by the SABC’s acting risk and governance executive, Sully Motsweni, that recommends civil action against Mpofu and ex-legal services boss Mafika Sihlali following a lengthy Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe.

The full SIU report has not yet been released but Motsweni used the unit’s findings as a basis for her report.

Mpofu declined to comment on Friday, saying he had not seen the document.

In her report, Motsweni said Mpofu and Sihlali contravened a group executive committee resolution that barred them from awarding contracts worth more than R10 million.

She accused Mpofu of ignoring legal opinion on the Siemens contract.

This had concluded that the company had an unfair advantage over the other 21 companies that bid for the tender.

Sihlali is currently facing fraud and corruption charges for allegedly outsourcing the SABC’s legal services to SBS Attorneys, owned by his friend Sylvester Sithole.

Sithole has also been charged with fraud and corruption.

Sihlali allegedly earned R330 000 in kickbacks through the bank account of Leandra Football Club, which he owned, in exchange for R6.1 million legal work.

Other former bosses who may face charges and civil claims include:
» Former acting chief executive Gab Mampone, who apparently signed the memorandum of understanding with Siemens, also in contravention of his delegated authority and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

The SIU says it could not find the board approval required for such action.

Mampone and his personal assistant, a “Ms Motau”, are accused of having made irregular payments to suppliers.

The matter has now been referred to police.

Mampone, however, said he had settled all claims with the SABC.

“They can try to sue me but won’t get far,” he said.

He denied all the allegations against him.

“Any action would be defended vigorously with costs on a punitive scale,” he warned.

» Ex-content enterprises executive Mvuzo Mbebe is also facing a possible lawsuit over his role in signing Spanish football rights with Nigerian company Entertainment Highway Limited.

Mbebe is currently the chief executive of the local organising committee of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and 2014 African Nations Championship tournaments.

Mbebe said he would wait for the SABC’s action before commenting.

» Former international acquisition head Matilda Gaboo could face criminal charges for allegedly buying unaired programmes that cost the SABC about R170 million.

The SIU is reportedly drafting a charge sheet against Gaboo.

Attempts to contact Gaboo were unsuccessful.

» Former acting chief technology officer Sharoda Rapeti allegedly misrepresented facts to the SABC’s group executive committee by saying the Siemens contract would cost R10 million in its first year when she knew it would cost R23 million.

The SIU says Rapeti contravened the PFMA and possibly committed fraud.

She instructed Siemens to start working without a written contract in place, according to the SIU.

Rapeti did not respond to requests for comment.

SIU spokesperson Boy Ndala said the unit had laid some of the criminal charges and left others to the SABC.

Motsweni’s report also recommends that criminal charges, for contravention of the Prevention and  Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, be laid against Radio 2000’s David Mashabela for failing to declare his interests in a company that did business with the SABC.

Mashabela Creatives was allegedly paid about R860 000 without following proper procurement procedures.

The SIU found Mashabela Creatives’ appointment not compliant with the SABC’s supply-chain-management policy.

Attempts to contact Mashabela were unsuccessful.

The unit has also recommended disciplinary action against 369 former and current SABC employees, of whom 304 were still employed by the public broadcaster at the beginning of July.

SABC spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the public broadcaster was not prepared to ­comment on the issues raised in the report because they were now in its lawyers’ hands.

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