Probe NWest legal fees: Scopa

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The alleged misuse of state funds on legal fees in North West will be investigated, the province's standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) concluded on Tuesday.

Chairman Hlomane Chauke said the probe would focus on the misuse of state funds by the former finance MEC Louisa Mabe, current MEC Paul Sebegoe, and acting finance department head Geo Paul.

“The three failed to give the committee a clear account of procurement processes followed in appointing Morake Attorneys, a company that has been paid over R15.4 million for a disciplinary hearing,” he said.

The hearing was that of the finance department's suspended head Johannes Mohlala, chief financial officer Harriet Kasirivu and chief director Peter Mogoane.

Sebegoe said the committee felt an investigation was needed because public money had been spent, for which those involved had failed to account.

The Hawks, the Auditor General's office, the Public Service Commissioner and the Public Protector would conduct the investigation.

Chauke said that although it would be one investigation, each team would have a different focal area.

“The Hawks will be focusing on the criminal nature of the case, and if the outcome shows that indeed state funds have been misused, the committee will also look at ways of recovering that money,” he said.

“We expect that the committee will be furnished with a preliminary report of the investigation within 30 days, and after that the committee will sanction action that has to be taken.”

The province's finance department has a R26 billion budget, of which, R10bn was for the education department, for which Mabe was responsible, Chauke said. - Sapa


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