SIU uncovers rampant corruption in NWest municipalities - Premier

28 cases of fraud and theft of amounts up to R30m currently under police investigation

Corruption buster, Willie Hofmeyr gives status report on Special Investigations Unit's (SIU) investigation into four North West municipalities to provincial Premier, Maureen Modiselle

10 Oct 2010

Eighty three payments of more than R10.3 million were made two companies, using the same invoice number for the installation of high mast lights by the one of the four North West municipalities currently under investigation by the Special Investigation Unit.

This is just but one of a litany of the shocking findings, by SIU into acts of corruption, fraud and lack of financial controls in the local municipalities of Madibeng (Brits), Greater Taung (Vryburg), Mafikeng and Ventersdorp.

This emerged at a meeting in Mafikeng over the weekend, between SIU's head, Willie Hofmeyr, and North West Premier Maureen Modiselle to present to her, the status report of the ongoing forensic and other investigations into to the said municipalities.

At least 28 cases fraud and theft of amounts ranging between R61 000 and R30 million are at different stages of police investigations while others are waiting for the decision by the senior public prosecutor so that alleged culprits are brought before court.

Hofmeyr said 341 officials in Madibeng were found to have had business interest in at least eight of contracts valued at R21.7 million which SIU reviewed between 2005 and 2009.

In total 310 cheque payments "for services" to the value of more than R2.4 million made to the municipality, were rejected by respective banks because no funds were available in various accounts [return to drawer (RD) cheques].

Non-payment of services by companies apparently doing business in the area of Brits due to Madibeng was valued at more than R10.2 million.

In addition:

Irregular and fraudulent payments on municipal infrastructure grant (MIG); 10 ghost workers and separate acknowledgement of fraudulent debts of R17 000 and R27 000 to a company that never rendered services to the municipality were discovered.

Turning to Mafikeng, the seat of the provincial government, SIU confirmed that of the R8.5 million of seven contracts reviewed, R7.5 million was paid to one company which was being investigated.

Hofmeyr said the unit was also in the process of reviewing allegations of irregularities with regard to the alienation of land in Mafikeng and irregular payments on the Municipal Infrastructure Grant project.

Investigations on the alleged abuse of a credit card by the former Executive Mayor of Mafikeng (name withheld), were also being finalised.

In the Greater Taung municipality, Vryburg, ISU found municipal officials and spouses with business interests and instances of official registered on the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office's (CIPRO) data base.

Of the six contracts valued at R5.2 million, payments were made for work not done and poor workmanship of MIG projects and also a R200 000 payments made for a service not rendered.

In Ventersdorp meanwhile, ISU has reviewed 10 contracts awarded irregularly and were in the process of quantifying the loss incurred, finalising the investigations with regards to irregular appointments of staff and alleged irregular payments on MIG projects.

SIU was mandated by proclamation of 10 November 2009, to probe the said municipalities identified by the provincial government for the period 1 January 2005 to 10 November 2009.

This was also informed by discovery of fraud, corruption and maladministration that contributed to non-service delivery by the ministerial task team established after service delivery protest in the province.

Modiselle said acts of corruption in the public service were "bleeding to death" government's programmes of service delivery to the poor and therefore pose "a serious threat to democracy".

Statement issued by North West Provincial Government, October 10 2010

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