Gauteng MECs cleared of fraud

17 March 2014 - 02:01 By Phetane Rapetswane
NO PROMISES: Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane after her state of the province speech yesterday
NO PROMISES: Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane after her state of the province speech yesterday

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and two members of her executive have been let off the hook by the legislature's privileges and ethics standing committee after the i ntegrity commission investigated allegations of fraudulent expenditure against them .

The committee cleared Mokonyane, finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe and infrastructure MEC Qedani Mahlangu on allegations of using government-issue credit cards for personal benefit.

Mokonyane was let off the hook for allegedly misspending R105614 on her state credit card - including splashing out at a leather boutique in Italy - over the past two financial years.

"The committee is in agreement with the integrity commission's conclusion that there was no prima facie evidence which indicates that the premier abused her credit card.

"In all instances, expenditure incurred could be interpreted as having been for official purposes," ethics committee chairman Uhuru Moiloa said.

The committee did, however, express concern that there was no "appropriate audit evidence" of the gift the premier bought.

Nkomfe was cleared of fraudulently spending R160000 of taxpayers' money.

Moiloa said the reason Nkomfe spent the money was because he did not acquire a car through fleet management company G-Fleet, used by government departments.

"The committee is of the view that there appears to be no proof which indicates that the MEC abused the credit card or used it for private and unofficial purposes" Moila said.

Mahlangu was, however, ordered to pay back the R7309 she used to buy leather goods with her government-issue credit card in Istanbul, Turkey, last year.

She said the reason she used the state credit card to buy personal items was because her personal credit card was not working. She said she intended paying the money back on her return.

However, the payment was not effected as promised because of "administrative mishaps" that took place when she moved from the department of health and social development to economic development.

Government issued credit cards are to be withdrawn from all members of the Gauteng legislature following Minister Pravin Gordhan's call in his mid-term budget statement last year to clamp down on government spending.