Mayor Patricia De Lille. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency/ANA
Cape Town - Two reports into corruption and maladministration at the City of Cape Town is shrouded in controversy with one recommending that criminal charges be pursued against mayor Patricia de Lille while another clears her of wrongdoing.

De Lille, who boarded a flight on Monday from Bristol in the UK back to Cape Town, told the Cape Argus two reports were circulating undersigned by law firm Bowman Gilfillan.

The Cape Argus is in possession of the report clearing her, but there are reports that suggest that Bowman has recommended that De Lille, mayco member for transport Brett Herron, former municipal manager Achmat Ebrahim and former executive director Melissa Whitehead be criminally charged.

Bowman was tasked with investigating allegations that Ebrahim was prevented by De Lille to report to council allegations of improper conduct by suspended transport commissioner Melissa Whitehead. Ebrahim resigned on January 12.

The firm was also to probe allegations that Ebrahim was precluded by De Lille from reporting to council allegations of misconduct by Whitehead pertaining to a forensic investigationinto alleged irregularities involving payments to Volvo for bus chassis. Allegations Ebrahim was prevented by De Lille from reporting irregular expenditure of R43million, caused by Whitehead for the payment to Volvo for 29 bus chassis, were also investigated.

A further R29m payment made to Scania for 24 bus chassis was also under investigation, which De Lille instructed Ebrahim to stop.

De Lille’s alleged failure to report these matters to council were also under investigation.

It was expected that councillors at Thursday’s council meeting would be asked to deliberate on whether to proceed with criminal charges against De Lille based on the report.

Sources within the City said the report also recommended that council be obligated to report suspected acts of corruption relating to a tender for electric buses.

Disciplinary procedures were also to be taken against Herron and Whitehead for their alleged misconduct in the tender process. Chinese bus company BYD was awarded the R286m contract in August 2016 for the electric buses.

Of that money, R128m was spent on 11 buses that have since been assembled but cannot be delivered until the investigation was completed.

The report also stated that both De Lille and Ebrahim failed to report a forensic probe into irregular payments for the Volvo bus chassis and should therefore face disciplinary charges.

But clearing De Lille, it stated that although she did not represent the facts to council, there was nothing stopping Ebrahim from doing so. “At most the mayor sought to influence and persuade Mr Ebrahim from referring an allegation of misconduct to council. However, nothing in law prevented him from tabling the allegation at the next council meeting,” it stated.

De Lille said via a text that she would be responding to the allegations. “There are two reports saying different things of me. One cleared me, while the other says a different story,” she said adding that she had lodged several complaints about the reports.

@JasonFelix

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Cape Argus