Samwu man wants to sue ministers

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Johannesburg - Samuel Phaswane, the consultant allegedly at the centre of the SA Municipal Workers Union’s missing millions, has threatened to sue Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and Justice Minister Mike Masutha for unprocedural threats of arrest.

The accusations of “vexatious abuse” of process by the police, along with the threat to hold the ministers liable, are both contained in a letter his lawyers have sent to the Specialised Commercial Crime Unit in Joburg.

Independent Newspapers is in possession of the letter.

At the weekend, Independent Newspapers revealed the paper trail detailing Samwu’s missing R136m.

This included:

* R80.7m is missing from the union’s reserve funds.

* R28m was mysteriously transferred from the union’s reserve account for administration expenses that were already budgeted for.

* A photocopy contract was awarded to a company, costing R6.4m - despite a contradictory recommendation by the union’s finance committee.

* Samwu national officials have exceeded the budget for upgrades to the union’s Joburg premises by R19m, without explaining why or how this was authorised.

* Millions have been paid to the consulting firm for whom Phaswane works, Mpamba Solutions, which even allegedly authorised payments from the union to its own account.

Due to the allegations, Phaswane was ordered to appear before the police for questioning on Monday, but he refused to co-operate without a charge sheet being issued to him. He alleges that the officer investigating the debacle ordered him to appear with the “purpose of locking him up”.

But the consultant’s lawyer, Christo Schoeman, says the purpose of an arrest is “simply to ensure the appearance of an accused” at a trial if it was suspected he was a flight risk and would not stand trial.

“Prima facie, it would seem that (the investigating policeman) is abusing his position as an investigating officer in order to gather information on what is perhaps a fishing expedition,” Schoeman argues.

“Alternatively he could be on a witchhunt. The conduct is totally unbecoming of a police officer, considering the spirit of our constitution.”

 

Schoeman has also requested an urgent investigation into the policeman’s behaviour.

Several authoritative sources confirmed that the consultant was ordered last week to appear before police but that police only wanted a sworn statement from him.

However, the failure to appear has resulted in calls for both Phaswane as well as others who are suspected of being guilty of corruption to be criminally charged.

Police and a sidelined Samwu leader said members of Save Our Samwu (SOS), who are the whistle-blowers who uncovered the corruption allegations, were to meet with the National Prosecuting Authority today.

SOS is demanding more arrests, saying Phaswane is not the only person who should be fingered for the R136m which “vanished” from Samwu’s coffers.

Meanwhile, Cosatu is said to have done “absolutely nothing” to address issues relating to the scandal gripping its affiliated union.

The Star



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