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r5m resort 'graft' probed

By unknown | Mar 12, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

Four high-ranking officials, two from the Mpumalanga government and two from a well known resort, have been suspended while investigations into the disappearance of more than R5million are being conducted.

Sowetan has established that Piet Brookman, the chief financial officer of Zithabiseni lodge and resort has been suspended on allegations of misappropriation of funds.

Together with the resort's operations manager, Lucas Manyaku, Brookman faces allegations of impropriety in relation to the financial management of the resort.

A source in the department of economic development and planning said the two men allegedly failed to use more than R5million allocated to the resort and cannot account for the money.

The resort is funded by the province's department of economic development and planning.

Last year the department seconded a management team to the resort to ensure its smooth running and to help it comply with legislative prescripts.

'They failed to use the money to improve the deteriorating condition of the resort," the source said.

The suspended department's officials are Mmaphefo Makgamata and Lemy Mdluli.

Tom Msiza, the department's spokesperson, confirmed that MEC Craig Padayachee had suspended the four.

"The decision to suspend the four is in the interest of safeguarding the government's investment and to protect the employees who may have been negatively affected by the alleged violations on the part of the management of the resort," said Msiza.

"It has come as a disappointment to us that after we positively intervened to help rectify the situation, the management of the lodge failed to learn from the department's team," Msiza said.

He said the department would institute an investigation into the allegations in order to verify their veracity.

The two departmentofficials have been suspended for failing to follow proper procedures in terms of spending government money.

"The allegations also point to serious challenges such as lack of proper procurement processes, lack of accounting on revenue and general failure of corporate governance at the resort," said Msiza.


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