Home News Hawks probe NC municipality’s payments to consulting firm

Hawks probe NC municipality’s payments to consulting firm

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DA calls for a special council meeting to be convened to urgently discuss “serious financial misconduct” at Phokwane Local Municipality.

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THE HAWKS are investigating payments made to a consulting company for “system maintenance and support” by Phokwane Local Municipality, following the departure of the administrator.

According to documentation, the municipality approved a payment of R185,000 on May 21, against the advice of a co-signatory who wrote on the invoice that he refused to become involved in the transaction.

Another payment was made to the company on June 7 to the amount of R217,750.

The company was apparently de-registered in August 2020 due to non-compliance with its annual return.

Hawks provincial spokesperson Nomthandazo Mnisi on Thursday confirmed that they were conducting an investigation regarding the company.

“At this stage we can not confirm the amounts that were paid to that company,” said Mnisi.

Phokwane DA councillor Annette van Wyk stated that another payment of R364,780 had been made to the company on May 20.

“The company name does not appear on the municipality’s list of approved suppliers and service providers. The company is also trading with a company registration number and a VAT registration number that belongs to another entity that seems to be registered as a co-operative,” said Van Wyk.

“There is furthermore no approved contract between the company in question and the municipality, meaning that all payments made to this company are in fact unauthorised and in indirect contravention with the supply chain management policy, as well as the Municipal Financial Management Act (MFMA).”

She called for a special council meeting to be convened to urgently discuss “serious financial misconduct” within the institution.

“An internal investigation, as well as affording the acting municipal manager to make written representations as to why she should not be suspended, must be initiated.”

She questioned what services or supplies were provided by the company.

“We also want the alleged links between the company and a senior official to be investigated.

“A fellow Phokwane councillor has previously brought the matter to the attention of the mayor in June already, but nothing has been done about it despite the seriousness of the allegations. This is also in spite of disciplinary regulations, that compels the mayor to table any allegations of misconduct by a senior manager before council, within seven days of receipt of such allegations.”

Phokwane Municipality spokesperson Kgalalelo Letshabo said that no submission was made to the Office of the Speaker to convene an urgent special council meeting.

She explained that the services of the company were enlisted to establish and develop, monitor and review the performance management system.

“In order to comply, Phokwane Local Municipality appointed the consulting company in question in 2019 for the supply and implementation of performance management and monitoring system for a period of three years. ie 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years.

“Through this agreement, the municipality procured a QPR (quality process results) software. Like any other software there is a licence fee payable for maintenance and support. The licence fee was, however, not paid over two years and therefore the software became inactive. This resulted in no performance reporting which was subsequently also raised by the auditor-general as a non-compliance issue by the municipality.”

Letshabo added that the R212,750 was paid to activate the software in order to ensure that the performance management component becomes functional and also to address the auditor-general’s concerns.

She said that R364 780 was paid for the monthly data capturing, performance report, performance assessment and one-on-one sessions.

Letshabo stated further that they had received a request for information from the Hawks regarding this matter.

“We are offering our full co-operation. We wish everyone to also allow the process to unfold as the investigations continue.”

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