Embattled Mossel Bay municipal manager advocate Thys Giliomee says he is ready to defend himself against allegations of irregular expenditure at the Western Cape Liquor Authority while he was its chief executive.
This as Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said a forensic report and valuation had been forwarded to the chairperson of the Independent Audit Committee and tabled before the select committee on public accounts (Scopa) in the provincial legislature. It’s believed the probe was established after an audit finding by the auditor-general (AG) into the procurement processes followed for the refurbishment and fitting out of the office space for the liquor authority.
It cost millions of rand.
Scopa chairperson and ACDP leader in the legislature Ferlon Christians disputed Plato’s claim, saying he had not seen or received the report.
“What we usually do is that when we have the AG’s report or audit, we look at the report and then call in all parties responsible and first have a briefing before we decide on what we’re going to do.
“When I get the report I will then get the committee together and we will place it on the schedule of Scopa as soon as possible, as an urgent matter and handle it as an urgent matter,” he said.
He said a multiparty committee would then be formed where the matter would be debated and the committee would call in all the parties involved in the awarding of contracts.
“Our job is to make sure that public money is spent in the right manner and everything should be done transparently and if there is any irregularity, we will investigate,” he said.
A source close to the investigation said there were fears that the report may be “swept under the carpet”.
Last year the Independent Civic Organisation of South Africa (Icosa) challenged Giliomee’s appointment as municipal manager, saying he did not have the required qualifications and experience for the position.
Icosa had asked the office of the public protector in George to investigate his appointment because the Bitou Municipality turned down an application from him for the same post in 2012. Then-mayor Memory Booysen had said Gilomee did not have the required experience in terms of years in a senior position in a municipality.
The liquor authority has remained silent on the probe with spokesperson Philip Prinsloo saying Plato, as the executive authority, was being briefed on a monthly basis on its operations.
“The process is ongoing and will be brought before the governing board for a resolution in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act.
“The investigation is not completed and is still being finalised. The Western Cape Liquor Authority has always been open and transparent about its business,” said Prinsloo.
Plato said: “This forensic investigation focused on procurement processes followed for refurbishment and fitting out of the office space for the Western Cape Liquor Authority.
“The investigation was instituted by management based on the outcome of the 2015/16 audit conducted by the auditor-general.”
Giliomee, whose term at the liquor authority ended in 2015, said yesterday the forensic investigation did not have an impact on his current position as Mossel Bay municipal manager.
“The investigation was started after I left.
“I think I know what happened. I know the (initial) report was inconclusive and was referred back for further investigation. I did not see the report but I am ready to respond to it,” said Giliomee.