South Africa

SIU investigators and Ratlou Municipality Hawks raid offices

Investigators from the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), with the help of the Hawks, raided the offices of the local municipality of Ratlou in the northwest.

THE MUNICIPALITY HAS NOT COOPERATED IN THE SIU INVESTIGATION

This comes after the municipality failed to cooperate with an SIU investigation.

“The Atamaleng District Court on Wednesday granted the SIU a warrant to search the offices of the local municipality.

“This follows the signing of Proclamation R23 of 2020 by President Cyril Ramaphosa, authorizing the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of state institutions, relating to the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE). ”

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SIU spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said the unit received information from a whistleblower that a senior municipality official asked officials to name service providers who would be known to the senior official. for the supply of PPE and equipment to be used for the disinfection of buildings.

“The appointments were made without following the supply chain policies and emergency procurement guidelines issued by the National Treasury under Article 168 of the Financial Management Act No. 56 of 2003 municipal.

“It is further alleged that the quotes received from the service providers were exorbitant than the prescribed price limits, in accordance with the instructions of the Treasury.”

Kganyago said another allegation was that officials were misusing gas cards for COVID-19-related travel.

“The whistleblower informed the SIU that a card would cost up to 5,000 Rand for a local trip of less than 60 kilometers. COVID-19-related expenses incurred by the municipality are estimated at around R25 million and this figure is likely to increase after the raid. “

The municipality was placed under administration under Article 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution on January 13, 2021.

It is alleged that once the announcement of the intervention was made, the municipality began to make hasty payments to service providers who, inter alia, were appointed for the supply and delivery of PPE, without s’ ensure that the services had been rendered in accordance with the specifications.

“When the administrator-designate and her team returned to their municipal offices, they were kicked out by a group of individuals.

“The SIU sent a letter under Section 5 (2) (a) of the SIU Act to the administrator requesting specific information and documents, however, the administrator was unable to provide this information and documents because she was prevented from accessing the office, “he said.

On January 14, 2021, the city manager held a special council meeting where they passed a resolution n to remove the mayor and the president.

Kganyago said senior executives have been appointed to fill certain critical positions. One was that of a financial director, although the powers of the council had been revoked since the municipality was now under administration.

A court declared the special council meeting illegal and ordered that the administrator continue to perform the duties assigned to her under Article 139 (1) (b) of the Constitution.

Following the court ruling, Kganyago said the administrator received the SIU report recommending that disciplinary action be taken against the city manager and other officials for financial misconduct related to the improper purchase of PPE and the appointment of service providers to disinfect municipal premises without going through a competitive bidding process.

“The administrator placed the city manager on preventive suspension, pending the institution of disciplinary measures against him. The city manager took the case to the labor court but failed to challenge his suspension.

“The council continued to ignore the administrator and allowed the city manager to render services even though he had been placed on preventive suspension. To date, the SIU team has not been able to access information and documentation relating to purchases made during the national state of disaster, and this information is only in the possession of the municipality, ”said Kganyago.

Allegations of fraud and corruption can be reported via siu@whistleblowing.co.za / Hotline 0800 037 774.

SIU investigators and Ratlou Municipality Hawks raid offices

SourceSIU investigators and Ratlou Municipality Hawks raid offices

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