Massive corruption in Capital

Evidence of a long list of fraud, corruption, tender-rigging,
kickbacks, irregular appointments and other cases of
wrongdoing has been uncovered by the Special Investigating
Unit (SIU) at municipalities nationwide, but it seems none
of these is quite as rotten as the Tshwane Metro.
President Jacob Zuma authorised the SIU to investigate
allegations of “financial mismanagement, human resource
irregularities, and non-compliance with internal processes”
at the Tshwane Metro in December 2010.
Initially, the SIU unmasked 65 municipal officials with
interests in 66 companies doing R185 million worth of
business with the municipality.
Because of limited resources, the SIU has prioritised the
taking of disciplinary steps against only nine officials whose
companies were paid more than R1m each.
It has emerged, however, that this was just the tip of the
iceberg.
When it compared the municipality’s payroll database with
that of the Department of Home Affairs, the SIU found that
3 778 city officials were registered to receive social grants.
Only 93 have admitted their wrongdoing and are paying the
money back. The SIU is assisting the municipality to prepare
charge sheets against the others.
Perhaps the most worrying finding is that 104 metro police
officers with criminal records are roaming the capital’s
streets.
Forty-five of these officers “have been convicted of serious
criminal offences, including murder and rape”, while 18 are
awaiting trial.
The SIU uncovered 212 instances of fraudulently obtained
driving licences. Of these 87 have been referred for
cancellation.
Criminal cases are pending for 10 of these officials and
disciplinary hearings await the others.
Officials were also found to have entered into a bus lease
agreement that cost the municipality R40 000 a month.
The municipality’s bid committee had recommended
another service provider, who would have charged R19 000
a month.
As a result, the municipality incurred extra costs in excess of
R70m.
The SIU will be “recommending disciplinary action against
seven senior officials”.
Other findings included:
* Officials overspent R2.8m on a R7.9m “asset verification
contract” without the required authorisation.
* Eight officials have more than one ID number; 11 are using
ID numbers that do not exist on the Home Affairs database;
13 are using the ID numbers of people who have died; 15
are using ID numbers linked to a third party; and, in one
instance, the SIU found six unrelated officials whose
salaries were being paid into the same bank account.
More than 1 300 people appeared in court over the six
months to September 31 last year on charges relating to
social grant fraud. Tshwane metro police officers were
found on the job despite having criminal records for rape
and murder.
Dozens of government officials are coining it in business
with the state.
Thousands of city officials are fraudulently claiming social
grants.
As part of its investigation into grant fraud – which began in
2005 – the SIU successfully prosecuted 1 178 fraudsters last
year. It also prepared disciplinary cases against 823
government officials and obtained written undertakings
from 2 947 people for the repayment of R34 million in
grants they obtained illegally.
These are just some of the findings given in the SIU’s
interim progress report for the period April 1 to September
31 last year, and tabled in Parliament last week.
The SIU – popularly known as the Cobras – said these steps
had saved the government about R6.9m, with potential
further savings of R116m.
The SIU investigates corruption and maladministration in
government.
It specialises in complex forensic investigations, but probes
only matters referred to it by presidential proclamation. It
is tasked with 21 proclamations, involving departments at
local, provincial and national level as well as state-owned
entities and enterprises.
An investigation into the Department of Arts and Culture has
found that officials incurred R41.7m in unauthorised
expenditure by shifting funds meant for World Cup projects
to “unrelated purposes”.
The same probe uncovered a further R4.5m in unauthorised
payments, R5.4m in irregular expenditure and R150 000 in
fruitless and wasteful expenditure relating to the
department’s investing in culture projects.
As a result of this probe, the government has withheld
R8.4m in payments to service providers, recovered R351
000 and cancelled two contracts.
An investigation into 41 lease agreements at the Department
of Public Works – already stained by claims of widespread
fraud and corruption – has uncovered “numerous
irregularities”.
These include “overpayment; incomplete lease agreements;
(and) lease agreements signed before bid committee
approval”.
“Evidence has been obtained by the SIU which indicates
that Public Works officials colluded with service providers…
“Leases were irregularly awarded to such service providers
in return for significant financial compensation being paid to
the officials,” the report states.
In one case, the SIU found 27 leases involving about R325m
were awarded to a single service provider, with two Public
Works officials being paid R4m in kickbacks. The SIU has
recommended that all 27 of these leases be cancelled and
the cases referred for criminal investigation.
Four other Public Works officials face disciplinary action for
failing to declare interests in companies doing business with
the department. – Political Bureau

Source:www.iol.co.za/news/politics/massive-corruption-in-tshwane-exposed-1.1351845

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