Release of ‘corrruption’ report blocked

2017-12-07 06:00

THE Ray Nkonyeni Municipality has decided against releasing an interim report by the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) and the Department of Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) on allegations of irregular expenditure amounting to R35 million by the former Ezinqoleni Municipality before the merger with the Hibiscus Coast Municipality.

The decision was taken at the last council meeting on Tuesday.

Council asked for the final report, with video footage, to be presented by February next year.

The Fever is in possession of a leaked report by the MPAC which reveals that the R35 million was paid out to two companies for incomplete projects. In some cases, payments were made while there was no evidence of any work being done. The names of the two companies are known to Fever. The decision to overlook the interim report was taken after a caucus meeting by ANC councillors. One of the two companies received 17 of the 25 tenders in question.

The IFP and DA raised a motion that the report was vital to bring the matter into the open and make the public aware of the seriousness of the situation, but were defeated in a council vote.

IFP caucus leader Sifundo Ngwane said the IFP regarded the matter as a potential classic example of corruption involving senior officials and service providers. Ngwane said he believes an independent body should be involved as ANC councilor Phumlani Gumbi, who was making the MPAC presentation, seemed uncomfortable.

“At this stage there was enough evidence to prove a serious case of corruption,” said Ngwane. Council initially referred the matter to Cogta, after which opposition parties asked for the MPAC to be involved during the investigations. Now that there was apparently enough evidence to prove fraud and corruption, opposition parties wanted the Hawks to become part of the investigation.

DA caucus leader Douglas Rawlins said they were extremely disappointed that the matter had been moved to the end of February before being tabled to council. “This is so serious.

The perpetrators will now try to cover their tracks and the lives of councillors, who are going to inspect these project sites, could even be in danger,” said Rawlins. ANC spokesperson Selvan Chetty and a member of the MPAC said the ANC viewed the allegations in a very serious light. “It is our view that we must support council in ensuring a full and complete investigation into this matter so that this kind of conduct, if true, is never repeated.

“We are also in support of complete transparency in keeping the public aware of the progress, however, we must be cautious about what information we release at this stage as we don’t want to compromise the investigation.”

Chetty said the ANC believed the full report and some video footage should be made available to the public at the conclusion of the investigation.

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