Fani free from charges

Buffalo City Metro (BCM) council’s attempts to have their former city manager Andile Fani criminally charged have failed.

ANDILE FANI

The Hawks, who were approached by executive mayor Xola Pakati earlier this year to charge Fani criminally, told the metro they did not have a strong enough case against the former city manager.

The decision to lay a complaint with the police followed an internal disciplinary process which found Fani to have flouted regulations when he appointed a Cape Town-based company to build houses in Reeston at a cost of R74-million.

This led to his axing as the metro’s administration head.

In a letter dated September 13 to Pakati’s office, the Hawks informed Pakati and city manager Andile Sihlahla that prosecutors had found there “was no prospect for a successful prosecution” in Fani’s case.

Pakati yesterday said he had not seen the letter, stamped as received by his office on September 13 and written by the commercial crime unit commander Colonel CZ Toni.

In the letter, Toni says the matter was forwarded to the specialised commercial crimes court in Port Elizabeth in January for a decision.

 

“The cases were thoroughly perused and the advocate [Antoinette de Jager] decided that [there is] no prospect for successful prosecution,” wrote Toni.

He added that the cases laid against Fani by BCM were then “referred back as nolle prosequi on August 22 2017” – meaning they would not prosecute.

Fani told the Dispatch he felt “vindicated” by the decision.

“I was chased out and lost my job without even testifying. The decision to fire me was communicated to me through an e-mail and it was based on the flawed Grahamstown High Court judgment which was later overturned and nullified by the Supreme Court of Appeal.

“I feel vindicated because I have done nothing untoward.

“The case against me was cooked by those in power and I always knew that it would not stand in a decent court of law,” said Fani.

He further revealed that he will consult with his legal team “to find a way forward”.

“I was vilified, my name dragged through the mud and it affected me financially and otherwise.

“I was called a thief, a criminal, a corrupt fraudster and I lost my job on the basis of nothing. I always knew that this was their own creation. That broke my heart. In fact, it made me angry,” said Fani.

He said recently he had lost out on two job opportunities “because every time a reference check is done, BCM tells my potential employers that there is still a pending criminal case against me”.

 

The internal hearing where a decision to officially axe Fani from his post came after he was initially found to have flouted the Municipal Finance Management Act by the Grahamstown High Court in awarding the multimillion-rand contract.

That judgment, however, was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein earlier this year, just months after Fani had lost his lucrative job.

Pakati yesterday said the decision to lay criminal charges against Fani was taken by the council.

However, he said, the dropping of the charges, “has not been brought to our attention”.

“I have not seen such a letter and thus cannot comment,” Pakati said.

Hawks provincial spokeswoman Captain Anelisa Feni yesterday confirmed that the Hawks investigated the matter before referring it to the specialised commercial crimes court, which refused to prosecute. — asandan@dispatch.co.za

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