uMngeni seniors fingered for colluding with 10 firms

2010-07-08 00:00

UMNGENI Municipal chief financial officer Bertus van der Merwe and head of operations Eric Svensson persuaded 10 of the companies that have tenders with the municipality to collude in flouting municipal finance regulations.

They got these companies to supply them with certificates of completion for work that had not been completed and 41 invoices on the incomplete work amounting to over R15 million. Cheques were then made out then held back and paid out in the next financial year. This was because Van der Merwe allegedly had not made an application to Treasury for the roll-over of funds.

Ubuntu Forensic Investigation representative Andre Bouwer, giving evidence to the commission of inquiry into the affairs of uMngeni Municipality, alleged that Van Der Merwe admitted during the investigation that the advice to do this came from him.

A transcript quoting the CFO on the matter was read out to the commission yesterday.

The transcript read: “That is exactly what we did. We actually make out a cheque as if that work was completed in order not to have the audit query again.

“So we cannot create capital creditors. But we have not issued those cheques for payment.”

Bouwer said Van Der Merwe knew he couldn’t do this and that he had received a query before from the Auditor-General. The investigator added that writing a cheque out before work is completed amounts to paying people for work that is not done.

“The cheques were withheld, but what happened here was that this was not the truth; it was a misrepresentation,” Bouwer said.

At the end of its investigation, Ubuntu recommended disciplinary action be taken against municipal manager Dumisani Vilakazi, Van der Merwe and Svensson.

Vilakazi has been dismissed on the basis of a disciplinary hearing. However, this was as result of his conviction for drunk driving.He has appealed his dismissal and the matter is expected to be heard shortly.


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