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Tshwane mayor, city manager face charges

Ngobeni and Ramokgopa

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Cases of corruption and fraud were opened against City of Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and city manager Jason Ngobeni at the Pretoria Central police station on Thursday

Cases of corruption and fraud were opened against City of Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and city manager Jason Ngobeni at the Pretoria Central police station on Thursday, for their alleged role in the awarding of the smart meters and CCTV camera tenders.

Ramokgopa is alleged to have colluded with the city manager to make payments to PEU Capital Partners, the service provider formerly contracted to install the smart meters. The installation of the meters was stopped after a court interdict which effectively rendered the tender process null and void. Early this month, the city announced it had started a new process to appoint a service provider to install smart meters.

Complainants Mafika Mahlangu and Joel Mbatha said Ramokgopa and Ngobeni had ignored advice from the Treasury and former minister of finance Pravin Gordhan not to pay PEU “but to seek advice on the matter”.

They accused the duo of failing to heed Gordhan’s call.

The pair told the Pretoria News that they had opened cases on behalf of the people of the city.

They claimed Ramokgopa and Ngobeni paid PEU an amount of R830 million for installing 13 000 of the 800 000 meters the city initially planned to install, going against Gordhan’s advice.

Further allegations of fraud and corruption relate to the awarding of a CCTV camera tender. Ramokgopa and Ngobeni are accused of having had a hand in the decision by the bid committees to award the tender to Morubisi Technologies. They allege Ramokgopa and Ngobeni had “intentionally and negligently failed to perform their responsibilities and duties by ignoring the fraudulent and corrupt process that took place during the tender assessment of Tshwane CCTV”. They said the action of the pair contravened the Municipal Finance Management Act, Municipal System Act and supply management prescripts.

Mayoral spokesman Blessing Manale said the move to lay criminal charges against Ramokgopa and Ngobeni was “malicious”.

Manale said the complainants were “riding on the back of recent media reports on the PEU smart meter project and the metro police CCTV security tender”.

He said the complainants had been expelled from the ANC for “perennial ill-discipline associated with criminal activity”.

They were also expelled over “perpetual acts disrupting ANC and public gatherings”.

Since 2009, they had engaged in this “disguised anti-corruption gimmick” to slander and defame the executive mayor, while hiding behind their rights as citizens to lay these charges, said Manale.

The city would engage its legal counsel “to ready itself to answer to these charges and, importantly, the executive mayor will pursue civil action on the basis of an intentional malicious prosecution and or criminal charges by the duo”.

“The executive has openly engaged and sufficiently clarified to our citizens the PEU smart meter debacle.

“(We) will continue to do so in a manner that ensures that we protect the interests of our ratepayers and our potential investors in the new phase of the project,” he said.

ANC regional secretary Teboho Joale said he would not comment until he had seen the charges against the mayor.

“I must respond on what I have seen,” Joale added.

Independent News

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