Haswell fails to follow up scam probe

2008-08-20 00:00

The Msunduzi council and in particular municipal manager Rob Haswell stand accused of using delaying tactics aimed at burying a forensic investigation into the municipality.

Today it will be a year since a report on an investigation commissioned by Local Government MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu was tabled at a full council meeting.

On August 21, 2007, the council adopted 22 resolutions instructing the municipal manager to either charge, discipline or recover misspent council money from individuals implicated in the report. To date there has not been a single censure or exoneration.

The report of the Auditor-General to full council on January 30 this year mentions the investigation: “It was reported by the municipal manager that once he had engaged legal resources and once charge sheets had been compiled, appropriate disciplinary action would follow in January and February 2008.” Nothing happened in these two months.

Fuelling the suspicion of a cover-up is the fact that a senior official implicated in the report recently had his contract renewed, and another was promoted.

There is also the fact that despite Haswell’s telling council he would give it regular progress reports on the implementation of the resolutions, no reports have been forthcoming.

More than a month ago, the DA pushed for a report to be presented to the executive committee. This was expected at last week’s meeting, but once again councillors were left in the dark.

IFP caucus leader Dolo Zondi said the item was in the minutes, but “the manager disappeared before the end of the meeting and nobody bothered to call him”.

Both Zondi and DA leader Bill Lambert say there seems to be no will on the part of the ANC to resolve the issue.

Opposition parties have also queried why Mabuyakhulu has not intervened in the matter.

The MEC’s spokesman, Lennox Mabaso, said they remain committed to resolving the matter.

“The MEC has made it very clear to the municipality how important it is in the interests of good governance for all the recommendations to be addressed accordingly,” he said.

“The municipality has informed us that there are still processes they are engaged in as part of facilitating the implementations … and they indicated to us that the processes by the Scorpions have implications for this.”

Meanwhile, Haswell said: “Allow me to repeat that the forensic report necessitated a considerable amount of additional legal work, and that work is now nearing completion. Thereafter I will present a comprehensive report which will dispel any speculation of either collusion with, or persecution of, only certain individuals. Justice will be done, and will be seen to be done.”

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