Johannesburg - It is only a matter of days before several City of Joburg officials are suspended for corruption that allegedly saw the metro fork out R6 million for 500 undelivered computers.
“We’ve opened a case (with police). We’re first starting with disciplinary processes internally. We’d like to see them suspended before the week ends,” Lucky Sindane, director of the city’s forensic investigation unit, told The Star on Wednesday.
The uncovered irregularity, which allegedly involved kickbacks from a business owner, happened during the previous administration, Sindane said.
“These computers were ordered in 2014 and paid for in (that year).”
An official in charge of capturing deliveries has emerged as a mastermind in the graft. Evidence in the forensic investigation unit’s possession was that the official captured on the system that the computers were delivered. “The official made sure there’s no paper trail,” said Sindane.
The businessman, operating from south of Johannesburg, could soon be arrested and charged. Sindane said there was now solid evidence against him.
In addition to desktop computers, his business also specialises in laptops, printer cartridges and toners.
Members of the Hawks, metro police and officials from Joburg’s forensic investigation unit raided his establishment on Tuesday.
Herman Mashaba, Joburg’s mayor, said the raid was based on a tip off by a former employee of the business.
She spilled the beans that while she worked there the metro bought 500 computers from the company, which were never delivered.
During the raid, 37 computers worth R750 000 and allegedly belonging to the metro were seized. It was understood these computers were due to be sold to other municipalities.
“I was also informed that the service provider colludes with one of our officials who steals printer cartridges from our stores and sells it to the service provider who then sells it back to the city,” said Mashaba.
Mashaba also alleged on Wednesday that the same company paid kickbacks amounting to R2.7 million to 31 officials for various supplies.
It was estimated that total business he received from the metro amounted to about R20 million.
This counts as Mashaba’s latest bust in his bid to clean up corruption he insisted was rampant during the ANC’s tenure.
The ANC lost power in the metro following the 2016 local government elections, paving way for the DA’s Mashaba to become mayor.
“I want to eliminate corrupt elements throughout the City including investigating illicit deals and contracts that were secured by the previous the administration and this includes our technology space,” Mashaba reiterated on Wednesday.
Sindane also told The Star a senior official attached to Pikitup was nabbed on Wednesday for stealing a laptop.
CCTV footage apparently caught the man sneaking into a boardroom, and making off with the laptop. “Everyone was under the impression the camera doesn’t work. It was fixed recently and no one was told,” said Sindane.
Many will be shocked when the suspect’s identity is revealed, said Sindane. “He’s very senior. We’re shocked.”
He was expected to appear at the Hillbrow Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.