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Durban - eThekwini Municipality has incurred R785 million in irregular expenditure and awarded 74 contracts worth a total of R7.7m to council employees.

It has also awarded 161 contracts worth more than R32m to people employed by other state institutions.

This is according to the latest auditor-general’s report which also found that 15 council employees had breached the supply chain management (SCM) regulations, resulting in disciplinary action.

Tabling the findings for the 2011/12 financial year, Manuja Maharaj, a representative of the AG’s office, said the irregular expenditure was a result of awards to suppliers that contravened SCM regulations.

While the municipality received a financially unqualified report with other matters, the report also revealed that a further 32 internal investigations relating to alleged procurement fraud and non-compliance with the SCM regulations by council employees were in progress. Mayor James Nxumalo vowed to take action against implicated staff and councillors.

Addressing city councillors during a full meeting on Friday, Maharaj said 41 internal investigations were finalised last year.

“The outcome of these investigations was that in 26 cases the procurement process was in compliance with the municipal SCM regulations and no further action was deemed necessary,” she said.

“In 15 cases, council employees were found to have breached SCM regulations, which resulted in disciplinary action taken by management.”

Opposition political parties expressed shock at the findings. DA caucus leader Tex Collins said they once again highlighted that all was not rosy within the municipality.

Had the city released the full Manase and Associates forensic report into council irregularities, the latest transgressions could have been prevented, he said.

Nxumalo said the report would be referred to the relevant committees.

“We are confident that in the next financial year we will have another major reduction due to the steps we have taken to tighten controls,” he said.

Daily News