Government set to recover stolen money

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga Economic Growth Agency (Mega) will know today whether it will be re-imbursed unpaid loans by its former bosses.

The Special Investigating Unit will meet today with Mega chairman, Phillip Dexter, to look at ways to recover all losses suffered by the now-defunct Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation (MEEC).

The MEEC was one of the five organisations that merged last year to form Mega.

The MEEC was embroiled in corruption controversy allegedly involving its top officials, and the government is trying to recover the money lost.

The full extent of the loss suffered could not be determined, but is estimated at more than R130million.

But Mega was yesterday tight-lipped as to who was being investigated.

The agency could neither confirm nor deny if former deputy head of MEEC, Nora Fakude-Nkuna, would also be taken to task for alleged corruption.

A forensic audit found that Fakude-Nkuna granted a loan of R1,4million to Interstate Clearing, a company of which she was a director.

She later resigned and her successor, Dexter, installed control systems to prevent misuse of public funds.

MEEC former chief executive, Ernest Khoza, is currently on trial for allegedly accepting bribes from communications company, Rainbow Kwanda, in return for a R30million government tender.

Mega spokesman, Biah Makgobu, said the matter was referred to the SIU for investigation last year after her organisation had determined the nature of the possible irregularities perpetrated at the MEEC.

Makgobu said the SIU had requested a proclamation and had received a presidential sanction to investigate and recover all losses suffered.

"In this investigation, the SIU is authorised to obtain evidence against all possible persons identified as being involved in the irregularities," said Makgobu.

She said the investigations would cover loans issued by the MEEC, the procurement of services from certain service providers, as well as the financial management of projects initiated by the MEEC between July 1 2000 and April 1 last year.