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Corrupt deputy director still in pound seats

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A corrupt Gauteng Health department official is still on the province’s payroll, Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe has admitted.

Hans Ramogale was found guilty almost three years ago for awarding a R16 million security tender to a friend.

A forensic report recommending disciplinary and criminal action but no censure has taken place, Mekgwe said in answer to a question from DA finance spokesman Mike Moriarty.

In December 2009, the Department of Finance’s forensic unit conducted an investigation and found that Isidingo had been awarded the tender despite their failing to meet the requirements.

The audit report found that there was a corrupt relationship between Ramogale and representatives of Isidingo. Accordingly, the auditors recommended disciplinary action against Ramogale.

They also ordered the Department of Health to file corruption charges against him, but – almost three years down the line – this has not been done.

Mekgwe said: “The report was not handed over to the directorates: internal control or labour relations. The report was never included in the database of forensic audits for Health. Therefore, no action was taken against the official concerned.

“A copy of the report was collected from the Gauteng Department of Finance on May 10, 2012. This will be handed over to the labour relations directorates for appropriate disciplinary action.”

Mekgwe’s response angered Moriarty, who described her explanation as “a threadbare excuse for why no action was taken for nearly three years.

“It seems that Ramogale enjoyed protection and I would like to know why this is the case. (He) has evaded disciplinary action because one department doesn’t communicate with another.

“In so doing, the government has effectively rewarded corruption,” said Moriarty.

Ramogale was employed by the Health Department as a deputy director. On April 25, 2008, the department placed ads in national newspapers, including The Star, for security services tenders. The closing date for such tenders was May 9, 2008.

More than 80 security companies were shortlisted after the closing date. All the applications were then sent to the department’s bid evaluation committee, which Ramogale chaired. Sheriff Lecholo represented the Gauteng Shared Services Centre.

On June 2, 2008, the committee reduced the number to one, but the forensic unit found that the number had increased to 19 by September 15, 2008.

During its probe, the unit found that Ramogale had instructed “Mr (Sheriff) Lecholo in a letter dated July 17, 2008, to include Isidingo Security Services and Pothlako Security Services and Cleaning Services cc on the list of 17 services providers on the list.

“According to the letter, Isidingo Security Services and Pothlako Security and Cleaning Services cc submitted proposals for security tender number GT/ GDG/167/2007 and were misled when they were advised not to submit their information for tender number GT/GDG/47/2008.”

During the hearings, Ramogale admitted writing the letter.

The unit also found Ramogale had misrepresented the capabilities of Isidingo during the bid evaluation committee’s site inspection on February 3, 2009.

Unit head Azwianewi Mulaudzisaid:

“Mr Ramogale admitted that he did not see the vehicles as stated in his site inspection report.

“According to Ramogale, (a) Mr Padayachee told the (evaluating committee) that his company is based in Durban and has around 50 cars.”

Ramogale was also found to have had a personal relationship with Padayachee.

The unit relied on a series of cellphone conversations between them that in some instances had lasted for 10 minutes.

Health department spokesman Simon Zwane said: “There is a disciplinary process currently under way and Mr Ramogale is on suspension.

“A decision on further action will be taken at the conclusion of the disciplinary action.”

baldwin.ndaba@inl.co.za

The Star


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