Former uShaka boss off the hook

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Copy of nm shawn t THE MERCURY Former uShaka chief executive Shawn Thompson, left, has had fraud charges against him withdrawn. Photo: Puri Devjee

Durban - Former uShaka chief executive Shawn Thompson, who had fraud charges against him withdrawn on Tuesday, says the case was “unnecessary and possibly malicious”.

Thompson, who was suspended from his post after his arrest and later resigned, was charged with several counts of corruption, fraud and contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act for allegedly abusing his position as chief executive of the water park and aquarium.

On Tuesday, the charges were withdrawn in the Commercial Crime Court with no reasons given.

In a statement sent to The Mercury, Thompson said he was “extremely relieved” the case was behind him.

“The last 10 months since my arrest in August (last year) have been stressful for my family. I have however put this unfortunate and disappointing episode behind me and I’m looking forward to moving on.”

He also questioned why the matter had been taken to a criminal court.

“My sudden departure from the company created huge disruption and has left many of us wondering why things were handled in the way that they were.”

He said a lot of people had stood by him including his ex-colleagues at uShaka and he thanked them for their support.

According to the charge sheet, Thompson was accused of having abused his position as chief executive in that, in 2009, he submitted invoices for and authorised two payments amounting to R13 172 from uShaka to Villa Coco Guest House - a Durban North establishment - for the accommodation of three people, who were guests of uShaka.

The State alleges that the guest house was owned by Chapelgate CC and Thompson was the sole member of the corporation.

The charge sheet says Thompson directed his personal assistant, Lynn Crouch, to make the bookings despite proper supply chain management processes not being followed.

According to uShaka’s policies, municipal entities are required to obtain a verbal or written quotation for services under R3 000. The policies were also contravened as Thompson’s company was not allowed to trade with uShaka.

The charge sheet also alleged that Thompson told the Municipal Public Accounts Committee in March 2011 that his wife’s bed and breakfast establishment had been booked by Crouch for the guests without his knowledge.

Last year, Thompson told The Mercury that the matter had been dealt with internally,

He said the two transactions were approved by uShaka's board of directors and he had made a full financial disclosure about the payments in the 2010 financial year statements.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Natasha Ramkisson did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

The Mercury

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