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Officials defied Bay bosses on payments

PwC report claims they tried to shunt through invoices for R1.8m

Despite their attempts to secure a R1.9-million payment to Milongani Eco-Consulting being squashed by a city finance boss, senior Nelson Mandela Bay public health staff defied orders and tried to push through invoices for a further R1.8-million.
The R1.9-million invoice for “waste management services” was rejected by the municipality’s finance department.
But in complete defiance of an instruction from their boss, Tsietsi Mokonenyane, to stop the project, the public health officials tried to push through two more invoices, for R1.3-million and R498 000 respectively.
These are among the bombshell allegations in the PricewaterhouseCoopers forensic report into the city’s contract with Milongani.
The municipality dished out a total R25.6-million to Milongani between August 2015 and March last year.
The Herald reported yesterday on explosive allegations of tender rigging, fraud and collusion in the PwC report on the metro’s contract with Milongani for environmental health services.
The PwC report is with the Hawks for further investigation.
The findings are also contained in the confidential section of the last council agenda.
They were not discussed as the council meeting, on Thursday, collapsed when opposition councillors walked out, leaving the coalition without a quorum.Fingered in what investigators painted as dodgy dealings in the Waste Services project are three public health managers – former executive director Andile Tolom, project manager Thabo Williams and acting waste management director Nkosinathi Dolo.
All three have been on suspension since April last year.
According to the PwC report, Tolom signed an agreement with Milongani for waste management services even though another company, Tedcor, had been awarded the R54-million contract.
Milongani’s contract with the municipality was for environmental services thus waste management services did not fall within its scope of work.
The report states that Tolom told investigators he had appointed Milongani due to political pressure placed on him to commence with the project. He did not say who was pressuring him.
“Mr Tolom advised that he agreed to appoint Milongani due to the issues experienced with SMMEs in relation to the appointment of Tedcor, [which was] based in Johannesburg, and the political pressure placed on him to commence with the project.”
An invoice amounting to R1.958-million was pushed through the metro’s system for payment, but it was stopped by then acting chief financial officer Barbara de Scande.
The report states: “We were provided [with] a memorandum that Ms Barbara de Scande wrote to the executive director: public health to advise that, as Milongani’s contract does not relate to waste management services, the invoice received from Milongani for an amount of R1 958 330 in respect of the implementation of complimentary waste management services within NMBM would not be processed for payment.”
The money was for cooperative fees (R833 333), health and safety (R202 600) and project implementation (R681 900).
After De Scande raised her concerns, the invoice was not paid and the project was stopped.
A second invoice for R1.3-million was, nevertheless, submitted and allegedly processed by Williams. The invoice was later deleted from the metro’s system on March 6 last year, using Dolo’s username. The third invoice for R498 180 seven days later was, according to the report, processed by Williams and approved by Dolo.
It was, however, stopped by Mokonenyane.
The report states that Dolo denies deleting the second invoice, saying it was done by someone using his username.
Dolo told investigators his assistant had access to his passwords – which contravenes the municipality’s computer policy. Dolo’s assistant, however, points fingers at Williams, alleging he came to her office and told her he needed to look for something on her computer. The assistant believes Williams deleted the R1.3-million invoice.
PwC states in the report: “Attempts were made by Mr Williams and Mr Dolo to process three separate payments to Milongani in respect of this project.“The second and third payment attempts were made by these officials knowing full well that the first payment had been rejected. This was also after a letter had been issued to discontinue the project.”
Dolo denied any involvement with Milongani.
“I have never done any work with or for them, never met [them] or been in any of their meetings. In fact, I do not know who they are,” he told The Herald.
Tolom declined to comment “despite the fact that I deny any wrongdoing”.
Attempts to reach Williams for comment were unsuccessful.
PwC suggested in its report that there was prima facie evidence of fraud with regards to the Milongani contract.
– Additional reporting by Nomazima Nkosi

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