Tshwane ANC officials face fraud charges

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Tshwane ANC officials face fraud charges

A FORMER senior official who served in erstwhile Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa’s private office is among three ANC officials facing corruption charges after forensic reports uncovered millions of irregular expenditure in the metro.

The EFF has also entered the fray and is planning to sue the former Tshwane administration’s marketing department for allegedly misusing the metro’s funds to bankroll the ANC in Tshwane’s local government elections campaign.

Newly elected mayor Solly Msimanga on Thursday filed the corruption complaints at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria, citing the forensic reports compiled by an external audit company. He said that the forensic reports had been completed in 2015 and suppressed, but he would not divulge details about the amounts involved.

He did say that the reports dealt with corruption, fraud and the misuse of money in two projects: R90m spent on City Hall and over-expenditure on the mayoral residence.

The three officials implicated in this no longer hold high office in Tshwane. One of them was a senior official in former mayor Ramokgopa’s private office and another was a high-ranking procurement official.

Msimanga said the City Hall project included upgrades to Ramokgopa’s office, which resulted in damage to the historic building and left it unsuitable for use. The new mayor also claimed that the upgrades did not warrant the enormous price tag.

But the ANC has disputed the origins of the forensic reports and said Msimanga was taking credit for a process started under Ramokgopa, who is also the ANC regional executive chairman in Tshwane, before he was unseated from office.

ANC Tshwane regional spokesman Teboho Joala said that the party had never protected anyone implicated in wrongdoing.

Joala also said that he was not surprised Msimanga had filed criminal complaints because the ANC had already been investigating the implicated officials. Joala claimed that the ANC had commissioned the forensic investigations.

“What we want to do is eradicate corruption and fraud that was in the city.”

Msimanga said the three officials would be named only once they had been formally charged. His spokesman, Matthew Gerstner, said the forensic reports had not been commissioned by the ANC, but by the municipality.

An independent external firm of auditors had prepared the reports. Gerstner would not reveal the company’s name. The city is also investigating and streamlining all positions created by the previous administration and the cost implications.

However, he insisted that the move was not aimed at “purging people”.

Tshwane was bankrupt and its costs exceeded revenue, Gerstner said.

The EFF has thrown its weight behind the DA’s decision to file criminal complaints against the three officials. The EFF is planning to file a criminal complaint against Tshwane’s previous communications and marketing department.

EFF deputy regional chairman in Tshwane Moafrica Mabongwana alleged that the department’s staff had used state funds on a billboard to campaign for the ANC ahead of the election.

“As the EFF, we have always held the view that the city under Sputla Ramokgopa, was led by a group of corrupt people,” he said.

Msimanga, speaking on the sidelines at the Pioneers of Workplace Engagement Survey at the JSE on Thursday, said the city would continue taking action against those implicated in “shady dealings”.

“We’re going to continue finding all those people that have siphoned money from the city … because we need to retrieve that money — we need to channel that money towards service delivery,” he said.

“We are going to make sure that those fingered in corrupt activities are actually brought to book.

“I need money to make sure that the people of Hammanskraal get clean drinking water; I need to make sure that the people of Phomolong get streets, flushing toilets, water, electricity, a title deed,” the mayor said.

Source: http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/2016/09/09/tshwane-anc-officials-face-fraud-charges


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