De Lille lays into Bowmans reports as she mulls her future as mayor

2018-10-24 15:30
Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille

Executive Mayor Patricia de Lille (Adrian de Kock)

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Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille questioned the credibility of a law firm that conducted an inquiry into alleged corruption and maladministration in the City of Cape Town ahead of a crucial City council meeting on Thursday.

On Wednesday, amid speculation that she might not resign as mayor as previously agreed with the DA, De Lille released a statement expressing her "great disappointment and dismay" that she again has "to deal with the repercussions of council information, which was leaked maliciously by faceless, nameless and useless people, to injure my good name".

At the centre of the turmoil are two "contradictory" reports by law firm Bowmans, previously known as Bowman Gillfillan. In one report into corruption and maladministration in the City of Cape Town, De Lille is reportedly found to be complicit in irregularities. The second report, however, absolves De Lille.

"I have repeatedly taken issue with the credibility of Bowmans, ever since the inception of this investigation," De Lille said.

"The initial report issued by Bowmans, on December 29, 2017 made a number of 'factual findings' which were inaccurate or simply baseless. I wrote to them on January 3, 2018 requesting them to retract a number 'recommendations' made by themselves on issues which they had not even questioned me on."

She said her request for them to delete the "misinformation" was rejected.

"On January 5, 2018, when council adopted the unedited report, even though I went on the record to say that there were a number of material factual errors upon which Bowmans made 'highly prejudicial findings', 'conclusions', and 'recommendations' (sic)."

De Lille claimed one such false "factual finding" was that she provided the DA leader Mmusi Maimane, a copy of forensic reports. According to De Lille, Maimane later confirmed in writing that she had not given him any documents.

"I was defamed. I was embarrassed by the false accusations, but I still welcomed the investigation, and actively participated when my turn came," De Lille said.

"I was therefore shocked when almost six months later, on June 1, 2018 at around 06:00 on Radio 786, Alderman JP Smith was recorded saying the following about my alleged conduct: 'The Bowman Gillfillan report has multiple findings, prima facie findings, that says she misled council. To the point that full council voted to take the investigation against her further. And those findings will be out in due course, and I can't wait for them to be out.'"

De Lille wrote to Bowmans on the same day, stating that she understood that the investigation was ongoing.

"I was therefore perturbed about what Alderman JP Smith was basing his excitement on, because he clearly had access to information I was not privy to," she claimed.

She said at that stage the report could not even have included her version of the alleged events because she had not yet provided her written responses. 

"Once again, Bowmans vehemently denied that they had shared any information, despite evidence to the contrary."

She said she again wrote to Bowmans – after her deputy Ian Neilson was quoted saying they were due to report in August but seemed to have been delayed.

"Bowmans once again denied the confidentiality breach despite evidence to the contrary.

"So I am not surprised that there has once again been a very strategic leak of information whilst I was away on official business for three days," De Lille said.

"This is consistent with the smear campaign that I have been the subject of since the inception of this investigation last year."

She said it was very convenient for her adversaries to accept recommendations "because it suits their agenda to malign me". 

"It is in this context that I wish to reserve my rights in terms of the 'findings', 'conclusions' and 'recommendations' in both reports. I will subject myself to all the necessary processes to have my name cleared.

"I cannot understand how the same company conducting the same investigation, on the same charge can come to two different conclusions."

She said her lawyers wrote to Bowmans to seek clarity on this and requested a response by the end of business on Wednesday. 

"Once I receive their response, discuss it with my lawyers and pending the decision of council tomorrow [Thursday] regarding which of the two reports they will adopt, I will then be in the position to announce what my next steps will be.

"Extreme caution should therefore be exercised in slavishly relying on the findings, conclusions and recommendations contained in the reports, particularly considering that the reports appear to be in conflict with each other."

Read more on:    da  |  city of cape town  |  patricia de lille  |  cape town  |  local government

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