Official guilty in Shabangu lease deal
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Johannesburg - Senior public works official Sam Vukela has been found guilty of charges relating to a police lease deal with businessman Roux Shabangu, an official said on Monday.
“He was charged for being neglectful and for not applying his mind to the matter of the lease agreement,” said Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi's adviser Philip Masilo.
Parties to the disciplinary matter now had until June 11 to file papers on the sentencing of Vukela, who was the department's former deputy director general, he said.
In her report on the lease debacle, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recommended that disciplinary action be taken against Vukela.
She found he had acted in breach of his duties by directing the department to follow a negotiated process as a procurement strategy for the lease agreement.
Vukela reportedly awarded the R500 million lease to Shabangu in May 2010.
Former national police commissioner Bheki Cele was also implicated in the deal.
President Jacob Zuma fired Cele after a board of inquiry, headed by Judge Jake Moloi, found he was not fit to hold office.
Moloi's inquiry was mandated by Zuma to establish whether Cele had acted corruptly, dishonestly, or with an undeclared conflict of interest in relation to two police lease deals he signed with Shabangu.
In May last year, the department and Vukela were at odds about an application to set aside the lease agreement with Shabangu.
Vukela had previously deposed an affidavit in support of the department's application.
However, he allegedly slipped an additional affidavit into the court file in which he defended the decision not to call for tenders prior to the conclusion of the agreement.
In his additional affidavit, Vukela described himself as “the proverbial sacrificial lamb”.
He claimed former public works minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde had treated him “unfairly and unlawfully” by putting him on special leave.
He also claimed she had “directed” him to sign the founding affidavit, which did not place a full picture of the facts before the court.
According to Vukela, the process of compiling the founding affidavit was not been characterised by openness, and was the equivalent of being forced to sign at “gunpoint”.
He said that of the 2950 lease agreements concluded by the department between 2008 and September 2011, 2415 were negotiated and only 226 were put out to tender. - Sapa