Sekhukhune municipality overpays contractor by R2m

Sekhukhune district municipality's executive mayor Stanley Ramaila has instructed the acting municipal manager to compile a detailed report of all payments made since the beginning of the past financial year for further scrutiny, according to spokesperson Mokone Mokone.
Sekhukhune district municipality's executive mayor Stanley Ramaila has instructed the acting municipal manager to compile a detailed report of all payments made since the beginning of the past financial year for further scrutiny, according to spokesperson Mokone Mokone.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

Several municipal employees are being investigated for fraud after a service provider who was paid double his due decided to blow the whistle on the matter.

The Sekhukhune district municipality is investigating how some of its employees paid R4.4m to a service provider who was only meant to receive R2.2m for services rendered.

Municipal spokesperson Moloko Moloto said a double-payment of R2.2m was made into the bank account of a service provider by their officials.

"While the service provider in question has returned the other R2.2m and retained his due quantum, acting municipal manager Mpho Mofokeng was instructed to take disciplinary action against our implicated officials nonetheless," he said.

A municipal employee told Sowetan the municipality was alerted to the fraud by the same service provider who received the double-payment.

Moloto said a recommendation was adopted as a resolution of council in December, to request the Limpopo provincial government to institute a forensic audit in the municipality, to fight maladministration and the apparent corruption.

"While awaiting decision by the provincial government, executive mayor Stan Ramaila, working in close collaboration with members of the mayoral committee, has instructed the acting municipal manager to compile a detailed report of all payments made since the beginning of the past financial year for further scrutiny."

The municipality was previously defrauded of R5.4m which was paid into unknown bank accounts in 2018.

Last year, R12m meant for the employees' compensation fund was also paid into an unknown account in instalments of R1m per month.

Moloto said employees implicated in the R12m fraud, were served with letters of intention to suspend, and were given until last week Friday to make representations explaining why they shouldn't be suspended.

"They've complied with the Friday deadline and in the coming days we'll announce the decision," Moloto said.

He added that five officials were suspended regarding the R5.4m.

"The degree of their charges varied, because not all of them were directly involved in the payment.

"Others were charged for negligence. One has since resigned, the other one was given a final written warning, while the disciplinary hearings of the three are still ongoing.

"Two of the three are back at work, but they've been shifted from their original positions, while only one is still on suspension, pending the finalisation of their disciplinary hearings."

DA caucus leader Solomon Maila said the latest matter was tabled at an ordinary council sitting last week.

"According to the information I received is that the money was paid last year and the issue has been concealed all along. We believe there is a syndicate working with senior officials to siphon public funds.

"We opened criminal cases with the police on the two previous fraudulent cases and no one has been arrested to date," Maila said.

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