SIU ensures conviction of City of Tshwane fraudster

2018-10-30 22:22
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A Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe ensured that a former employee of the Tshwane municipality who flouted supply chain management regulations, causing the City a loss of more than R15m, will spend ten years behind bars.

Jacobus Barend Lerm, a former manager at the municipality, pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and corruption on Monday in the Pretoria Regional Court after a consultative process between the National Prosecuting Authority, SIU and the Hawks. 

"The Special Investigating Unit's dedicated member to the anti-corruption task team (ACTT) Mr Derick Homan – from the Pretoria office and seconded to the ACTT – did a sterling job with the investigation and evidence gathering and built up a solid case against two accused," Nazreen Pandor, head of communications and stakeholder management at the SIU, said.

"He (Lerm) was sentenced to an effective 15 years' imprisonment, of which 10 years was direct imprisonment while the remaining five years' imprisonment was suspended," said Pandor. 

The other accused, who cannot be named yet, is still to be convicted and sentenced, she said. 

Orders split to stay under the radar

A 2010 report by the City's standing committee on public accounts found that Lerm flouted the supply chain management policy by creating orders and procuring quotes for services from a supplier himself, instead of going through the procurement system.

He then split up orders into smaller amounts to stay under the radar of the R300 000 cap.

While the report does not detail who benefitted from these irregularities, it said that the City suffered a minimum loss of R15 181 430.

This report apparently gathered dust at the City, until Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga last year launched a full forensic investigation after getting his hands on the report, his spokesperson Sam Mgobozi told News24 at the time.

However, on October 31, 2010, former president Jacob Zuma signed a proclamation for the SIU to investigate serious maladministration at the municipality, which led to Monday's conviction.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  corruption
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