ANC kicks for touch over Nedlac forensic audit

2015-06-18 05:47


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Johannesburg - The ANC flexed its muscle yesterday to block Parliament from scrutinising a forensic audit that was completed more than two years ago and which fingers two former executives, one of whom is now a special adviser to Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.

Herbert Mkhize, who was former executive director of Nedlac and former chief financial officer Umesh Dulabh are accused of fraudulently spending almost R1.8 million on personal items between 2011 and 2012.

The presentation of the Nedlac forensic report to the Portfolio Committee on Labour was postponed after ANC MPs insisted that all supporting documents leading up to the establishment of the audit needed to be included. They also complained that only one of the four Nedlac convenors was present.

ANC MPs, led by Lindiwe Mjobo, questioned the process that had led up to the forensic audit as soon as Nedlac acting executive director Mahendra Naidoo began the presentation.

This provoked a heated discussion, with Democratic Alliance MP Ian Ollis appealing for proceedings to continue. 

“If you close the committee now, you are wasting the committee’s time …  The ANC is trying to shut down discussion of a document by calling for extraneous documents that have never been requested by the committee. The ANC is trying to whitewash this investigation.”

Committee chair Lumka Yengeni hit back: “We are used to this rhetoric; there is nothing new in what you are saying. We are not going to investigate this report your way. We will do it the committee’s way.”

Yengeni called for a brief caucus adjournment. The ANC then proposed that the meeting be postponed. This was passed by an ANC majority vote amid objections from opposition MPs who argued that the purpose of the briefing was not to take “backward steps” but to scrutinise the forensic report, which had been handed to the labour minister two years ago.

Saying that the committee had a duty to carefully scrutinise the process, Yengeni said:  “Where there is corruption that has taken place, the law must take its course. But we are not going to short-circuit the process for this committee … We are not going to be pushed around by anybody.”

DA MP Michael Bagraim appealed to Yengeni to be clear about what supporting documents were required for the next meeting, to avoid yet another delay.  “Should they bring a warehouse of goods?  Let’s be specific,” he said.

The DA, which obtained the audit findings in March after lodging a Promotion of Access to Information Act application, has been calling on the minister to suspend Mkhize and to see to it that criminal charges are instituted against both former executives.

The audit report, which was distributed at the meeting, was completed in November 2012. The report found abuse of petrol cards and Diners Club cards, which have since been terminated. It also found weak internal controls, ineffective and weak management processes, poor document management, inadequate compliance with sound procurement process and no fraud prevention plan.

In a statement later, Yengeni said: “We are confident that, once all the requested documents have been submitted, the committee will re-convene to deal urgently deal with this matter.”

Read more on:    anc  |  nedlac

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