Municipality unable to pay staff salaries this month
CLAIMING for fuel to put in a washing machine and fuel expenses for scrapped vehicles are some of the ridiculous ways in which employees defrauded the now cash-strapped Nala local municipality in Free State.
The municipality is now reportedly unable to meet its February salary bill, estimated at R4-million.
The cash-strapped municipality - serving Bothaville, Wesselsbron and surrounding farming areas - has confirmed that it has not been generating revenue for the past 20 months because it had installed a R6-million billing system that does not work.
"The Nala municipality has not been billing for the past 20 months resulting in a cash-flow problem," acting municipality manager Chris Mokomela said.
The municipality hit a snag when a new financial management system was installed more than a year ago. It is this malfunctioning system that Mokomela partly blames for "failing" him in a letter in which he is asking for assistance from the provincial government.
Provincial spokeswoman Senne Bogatsu told Sowetan the request had been turned down, but the workers' salaries would be paid from March through a new financial recovery plan.
Nala municipality came under the spotlight last year when a KPMG forensic exposed a scam in which employees were fraudulently claiming for their fuel expenses. The report revealed that between 2007 and 2009 there were fraudulent claims amounting to R160,477 involving 207 privately owned vehicles.
Two Nala municipality employees, William Tsatsilebe Masisi and Dikotsi Koos Tsholo, are out on a warning for allegedly filling their vehicles using the municipality's fuel account.
The two men were arrested after a whistle-blower alerted the filling station employees in that the men were defrauding the council's account.
Further investigations have revealed that the scam still continues. Sowetan has seen documents showing that between January 22 and 27 the municipality has been defrauded of another R15,000.
Still under investigation are reports that the municipality has been defrauded more than R92,000 this month.
Some of the fraudulent claims include:
- R300 claimed for petrol in a washing machine;
- R1,295 claimed for fuel filled in a scrapped vehicle;
- R1,690 claimed for fuel filled in scrapped tractors;
- R355 claimed for petrol on behalf of a deceased driver;
R11,406 claimed for fuel using forged signatures.
In 2009, the municipality was placed under administration after failing to keep its financial books and administration in order.
- The municipality is also accused of wasting R105-million allocated to get rid of the bucket toilet system. To date residents of Monyakeng in Wesselsbron have not received new toilets.
- Companies contracted by the municipality were paid large sums of money for unfinished projects. For example, it replaced one consultant with another at huge expense, and still settled with the previous consultant at a substantial cost.
- Former mayor Mpai Mohorosi is accused of fraudulently using R234,000 to build a wall at her home.
- Current speaker Nozililo Mashiya is also implicated in the unprocedural use of the municipality's credit card to buy liquor for R11,489.
Employees defrauded about R705,423 in a salaries scam.
- An employee asked for a 10% commission from a company awarded a R14-million tender.