No flowers allowed for deputy's wife

By Time of article published Jul 27, 2007

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Flowers for Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba's wife were wrongfully bought from the department's budget, a preliminary investigation into allegations of corruption has found.

In a statement on Friday, the same day that the newspaper Die Burger published the allegations, the department said that although policy allowed the deputy minister to send flowers to colleagues, counterparts and other people, his office should not have paid for flowers for his wife from the department's budget.

"It is important to reiterate that ministers and deputy ministers are not personally responsible for administration and utilisation of finances in their offices. This is done by support staff in their offices," Jacky Mashapu, acting head of communications said.

On the other allegations in the newspaper report the investigation did not find wrongdoing on part of the minister.

In Friday's article Die Burger claims that Gigaba's office had, since 2005, paid for flight tickets and car hire for several individuals not employed in his office.

Some of these names are linked to a youth organisation under Gigaba's name, which he apparently runs from his office, the article said.

In most instances the cost ran into thousands of rand.

Mashapu however said that Gigaba's office was entitled to pay for the tickets and car hire.

"The deputy minister, in the performance of his official duties, has invited a number of people to official meetings and at certain points for various technical advice, some of these have travelled at departmental expense. This is consistent with procedure and practice within government," he said.

He added that Gigaba has ordered a full audit of all such expenses from his budget dating back to his appointment in 2004.

The outcome of the audit and corrective measures to be taken thereafter would be made public.

As for the flowers the department said Gigaba would reimburse home affairs.

The Freedom Front Plus has called for an independent investigation into the allegations. - Sapa

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