A 2014 KPMG forensic investigation that fingered former rural development and agrarian reform MEC Zoleka Capa for allegedly pushing expenditure of almost R3-million to an unregistered rural cooperative in her home district of O R Tambo has been buried by senior officials.
The probe by Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (KPMG) highlighted various problems with the payments to Eagles Cooperative, and found Capa had pressured officials to pay Eagles Co-op.
Bizarrely, the KPMG investigators recommended disciplinary action against eight lower level officials for the financial lapses, but ignored Capa’s alleged role and that of department head Lumkile Ngada and chief financial officer Nokwanda Tungata.
Capa yesterday denied any knowledge of the payments to Eagles Coop and said she had not been interviewed by KPMG nor extended the courtesy of being advised of the investigation.
The KPMG partner listed in the report presented to Ngada in November 2014, Tony Wright, did not respond to telephone messages and e-mailed questions by the time of writing yesterday.
Efforts to reach department officials or co-op representatives were also unsuccessful.
Current MEC in the department, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, said through his spokesman Mvusi Sicwetsha that he had never seen the KPMG report before.
“Now that it has come to his attention, he will look into the entire report including the recommendations made by the investigators,” Sicwetsha said.
The events in the report stem from an announcement in November 2013 by Ngada of an additional R22-million allocation by provincial treasury for ploughing operations. He urged officials to commit the funds immediately to avoid a situation where funds were requested and unspent.
Two rural development officials attended a meeting a month later at Capa’s home in Ndukudeni location in Flagstaff, where farmers pressured Capa to appoint Eagles Co-op as their preferred mechanisation service provider.
At a later meeting, the then-MEC allegedly said Eagles Co-op must be appointed and, subsequently, after Eagles had submitted invoices for work it claimed to have done, officials agreed to pay the invoices “due to continued pressure from Capa”.
No paperwork existed for either the appointment of the co-op, nor for payment of the invoices.
Eagles Co-op had previously been rejected twice as a single supplier contractor and when it sought payment in February 2014, officials rejected the invoices as they did not comply with procurement processes. These included no evidence of a competitive bidding process, no list of other suppliers and no evidence that a bid committee had been convened.
“Several officials stated that Capa pressured them to pay Eagles Co-op since it had carried out the work…regardless of whether processes were followed in the appointment of the supplier,” KPMG reported. The probe also found evidence that officials went ahead with payments despite the amounts exceeding the available budget.
Eagles Co-op was paid R801000, R840300 and R1166000.
But, despite the KPMG report being 18 months old, nothing appears to have been done to act on the recommendations.
Although KMPG’s mandate included checking whether any untoward relationships existed between officials and Eagles Co-op, the report does not deal with this issue. — firstname.lastname@example.org