Top official faces music over graft

SUSPENDED chief director of roads management in the North West department of public works, roads and transport Eddie Thebe is expected to answer to 10 charges of gross misconduct during a disciplinary hearing in Mafikeng today.

Thebe was suspended last September after claims of wasteful expenditure and irregular awarding of contracts.

Forensic auditing firm PriceWaterCoopers was appointed to investigate the allegations.

According to the charge sheet posted on the department's website in October 2008 Thebe appointed Roucomm Systems, Moseme Construction and Kaulani Civils to do emergency road patchwork, fix potholes and conduct maintenance without following procedures.

This resulted in the department contracting with the companies for more than R424million though R30million was set aside for the capital expenditure budget.

The charge sheet also states that Thebe misled the department by claiming that a Jetpatcher (a pothole fixing truck) from Raliform would cost R1,8million, but made the department fork out R9,6million to the company for the machine.

This was despite Thebe's knowledge that the department could have paid R1,2million to Jetpatcher for the same machine.

Another charge states that Thebe misled the department by claiming that Raliform was the only supplier of Bitumen cationic emulsion 65 chemical, which "resulted in the department paying R2890,64 per unit (drum), whereas the department already had an existing contract with Tosas to provide the same chemical at R779,76 per unit".

Also to face charges are suspended department head Nic van Staden and chief financial officer Kwekwu Odami-Takyi.