Cope probes 'Shilowa irregularities'

THE parliamentary whippery of COPE is probing 32 financial irregularities allegedly committed by the Mbhazima Shilowa faction.

The whippery is responsible for the daily conduct of MPs with regard to the discharge of their responsibilities. Cope's whippery consists of MPs Dennis Bloem, Papi Kganare and Juli Killian - all from Mosioua Lekota's faction.

They also blame Cope's parliamentary leader Mvume Dandala for the mess the party finds itself in. They say they have had several meetings with Dandala in which they complained about financial mismanagement - to no effect.

Yesterday, the whippery sent all Cope MPs and leaders a memorandum over mismanagement of Cope's caucus fund and constituency fund and evidence of the alleged 32 financial irregularities. The whippery claims problems started when Shilowa was appointed chief whip.

"He introduced a new proposed budget. He informed the whippery that Cope's political committee had approved the budgets. The political committee denied it and said they were informed that the whippery had approved it. The budget was also not aligned to the structure of financial accounts as prescribed by Parliament," said the memorandum.

Documents from March this year show that Killian and Bloem - who were signatories of Cope's accounts - refused to sign for payments.

One document dated March 26 shows the other signatory - administrative whip Lorraine Mashiane - authorising payment of R408000, but Killian had refused to sign. Instead she drew a line through the payments and wrote "not authorised".

The memo says that after this, Shilowa appointed himself the primary signatory for Cope accounts. This meant that he and Mashiane could sign cheques without involving Bloem and Killian. Shilowa wrote to First National Bank on May 14 informing it of the changes. The memo continues that people were allowed to claim money from Cope without any receipts.

Dandala's spokesperson JJ Tabane confirmed receipt of the memorandum and said it was still to be discussed by relevant structures.