council probes fraud claims

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

Makhuduthamaga Municipality in Limpopo has suspended its acting chief financial officer over allegations of fraud and corruption levelled against him.

Orapeleng Dipone, who has been acting in the position for several months, was suspended with full pay on Friday.

Dipone started acting in the position after his predecessor, Edwina Moyaba, was also suspended over allegations of fraud and corruption.

Moyaba was charged with the former mayor, Abram Mafiri, for allegedly defrauding the municipality of more than R30million.

Dipone has been suspended for three months pending further investigations.

He is alleged to have misappropriated funds that were meant for infrastructure service providers.

Moyaba is still on suspension and investigations into her case are still continuing.

Acting municipal manager Walter Mothapo confirmed yesterday that the council had endorsed Dipone's suspension.

"It is true that the council has taken a resolution to suspend Dipone with immediate effect. We will release further details on the matter upon completion of our investigations," he said.

It is alleged that Dipone was part of a syndicate that had swindled the municipality out of R822000.

Mothapo said after Absa Bank had raised the alarm, R734000 of the amount was immediately frozen before it could be withdrawn by the alleged network. The municipality lost R88000.

"Dipone has been suspended with full remuneration for a period of three months pending further investigations, possible charges and conclusion of the disciplinary hearing," he said.

Mothapo also said a criminal case had been opened with the police's commercial fraud unit.

"In dealing with issues of corruption and fraud, in particular, the council shall demonstrate no fear or favour."

He praised the "sterling work" done by the risk and security management unit of the provincial department of local government and housing in getting to the bottom of the matter.