Ex-Ekurhuleni employees appear in court

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pretoria - Two former Ekurhuleni employees appeared in court on Friday on charges of fraud involving a R32 million IT tender issued by the city to Meropa Sechabeng Technology in 2008.

The Hawks arrested the two, along with a local businessman, on Thursday morning.

Velero David, Owner of Meropa; Nilesh Singh, former Executive Director of ICT Department and Andrew Mphushomadi, former Chief IT Architect (both in the City of Ekurhuleni) were all charged with fraud and corruption.

They have been released on R50 000 bail each and the matter has been postponed to 16 August 2011.

Ekurhuleni Executive Mayor Mondli Gungubele congratulated the Special Investigating Unit for "a job well done" in leading the investigation.

"This municipality has no room for fraud, corruption, and irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure, hence our decision to boost our internal systems and rope in agencies like the SIU in the fight against this evil.

"We have now started a rigorous and aggressive process of putting measures in place that will help us in monitoring the activities and behaviour of our employees so that we can be able to mitigate corruption as it attempts to show off its ugly head. We shall continue to deal decisively against wrong-doers in this regard and these arrests are a clear proof of our intentions," said Gungubele.

Echoing the mayor's sentiments, SIU head Willie Hofmeyr described the arrests as the start of bigger things to come in terms of the working relationship between his organisation and the City of Ekurhuleni.

"This is a big success that was uncovered by the municipality's own internal audit. As the SIU, we are dealing with major cases in the city that involve millions of rands and more successes in this regard are imminent," he said.

In October 2009, the City of Ekurhuleni decided to rope in the SIU to assist with the investigation of some procurement irregularities which had been picked up by the internal audit unit.

A service Level Agreement was signed soon after that the investigation got underway.

A presidential proclamation was signed in November last year. Following the proclamation, the municipality committed itself to working with all stakeholders in making sure that the city was cleaned up.

"I must say that our (City of Ekurhuleni and SIU) investigations into alleged corruption in the city have exposed a lot of dirt in a number of departments, including IT and waste management. We are also doing our own internal investigations in various other departments, which we hope to conclude speedily," said Gungubele.