King's vault 'plundered'
Money meant for King Goodwill Zwelithini and his wives was used by royal household department officials to buy R600000 in groceries, parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) was told yesterday in Ladysmith.
The officials claimed that the groceries were for the king's wives.
Scopa was also told that officials illegally procured vaccines and food supplements - to the tune of R26077 - for the king's livestock.
King Zwelithini's annual budget is said to be about R59.5-million a year.
Yesterday, Scopa was told that an independent law firm had found that the former chief financial officer of the Royal Household Trust, Nkululeko Luthuli - a grandson of ANC stalwart Albert Luthuli - misappropriated R212000 of the trust's money.
The trust's chairman, Jerome Ngwenya, told Scopa that Luthuli had agreed to pay back the money and the board of trustees had reciprocated by promising not to press charges against him. Shortly thereafter, Luthuli resigned.
When asked by the African Christian Democratic Party's member of the provincial legislature, Jo-Ann Downs, why no criminal charges were preferred against Luthuli, Ngwenya said there had been no witnesses and legal opinion had been against it.
The director-general of the royal household department, Nhlanhla Ngidi, said the department had no procurement policy and that some officials were taking advantage of this by engaging in unethical behaviour.