Municipality slow to act on illegal spending

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IOL money_feb 17 .

Limpopo - A Limpopo municipality is yet to lay criminal charges against its manager over R42 million that has been spent illegally.

Last week, the municipal public accounts committee (MPAC) at the Lepelle-Nkumpi local municipality recommended that mayor Ivy Phaahla lay charges against municipal manager Freddy Ramaphakela.

But on Thursday, Phaahla said she still needed more time to act.

“By Friday we would have concluded something very concrete,” she said.

However, the council has written to Ramaphakela, asking him to say why he should not be suspended.

The committee’s report stems from Auditor-General Terence Nombembe’s audit report for the 2010/2011 financial year that ended on June 30, 2011.

“The accounting officer conceded that he was responsible for the irregular expenditure to the said amount (R42m) and would provide a written explanation to the MPAC, setting out why he incurred this irregular expenditure, (and) by July 18, 2012 he had not,” read the committee’s report released before a special council sitting last month.

The committee separately blamed Ramaphakela for not recouping millions of rand that were unduly paid to service providers.

But Ramaphakela questioned the credibility and integrity of both the author of the MPAC report, council Speaker Nakedi Sibanda, and its contents.

“I think the veracity of the author will be tested in another institution,” he said.

Ramaphakela would not say whether he would challenge the committee’s report in court.

He said the financial year under review started in July 2010, and he was appointed to the position in September of the same year.

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