I have today laid charges against three officials in the Gauteng Department of Sports, Arts, Culture and Recreation (SACR) who allegedly attempted to bribe the Auditor-General’s office to remove audit findings on irregular expenditure.
The charges are based on two affidavits that were disclosed by former SACR MEC Molebatsi Bopape – who has been suspended by the ANC as a member of the Gauteng Legislature because she attempted to make a statement at a sitting on 30 September 2016 on corruption in the department.
Documents released by Bopape include affidavits by two senior employees of the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA), Mothophatleheng Phillip Rakgwale and Tshireletso Molate.
In his affidavit, Mr Rakgwale relates that Ms Morwesi More, an official of the SACR, came to the AGSA offices on 20 July 2015 together with the Head of Department Ms Namhla Siqaza to discuss findings relating to construction contracts.
Ms More then contacted him five times in connection with a proposal, and Ms Siqaza tried to persuade him on 28 July 2015 to meet with More, which he declined. Ms Siqasa then came to his office on 30 July 2015 to try and persuade him to change the audit outcome.
According to Rakgwale: “She asked me what could be done to remove the findings on the audit report and suggested political intervention to resolve the findings contained on the signed audit and management report issued on the 31 July 2015.”
In his affidavit, Mr Molate relates instances when he was approached by Ms Lorraigne Nuku, an official of SACR, who indicated that she was acting on the instruction of the Head of Department Ms Namhla Siqasa to determine what the HOD could offer to the Senior Manager in charge of the audit, Mr Phillip Rakgwale, to convince him to remove the audit findings regarding irregular expenditure from the audit report.
This includes the HOD telling him that she offered Mr Rakgwale anything he wanted including political intervention, which he declined.
The charge I laid today at the Commercial Crimes unit in Johannesburg requests investigation into the alleged contravention of Section 51 of the Public Audit Act which makes it an offence for any person to hinder or interfere with the Auditor-General or provide false or misleading information.
Furthermore, whether Ms Siqasa as Accounting Officer has contravened Sections 40 and 50 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), which relate to her reporting responsibilities and fiduciary duties. A further charge is whether Siqaza, More and Nuku contravened Section 4 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act which deals with corrupt activities in relation to public officers.
Premier David Makhura claims that he runs a clean administration, but the ANC is persecuting Bopape despite her efforts to expose corruption in the SACR.
While Siqasa and More have been suspended and are facing disciplinary action, this has not been speedily concluded and does not include criminal charges.
There is an unfortunate history in the provincial government where corrupt officials get away without facing criminal charges.
The DA will monitor the progress of police investigations to ensure that there is real accountability in this matter which has been so bravely raised by Bopape.
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222