Forensic investigation launched into Bakgatla Ba Kgafela finances, administrator to be installed
An administrator will be put in place to manage the finances of the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela, in Moruleng, it was confirmed on Tuesday.
The premier of the North West will be responsible for putting the administrator in place, as recommended by the Maluleke commission into the maladministration of the tribe’s funds.
This came after numerous complaints were lodged about lack of transparency and accountability. The commission was established in 2016. Judge George Maluleke died in August 2017 before the commission could finish its work.
Kgosi Nyalala Pilane is accused of embezzling funds meant for community development and channelling them into companies associated with him. The assets in question are millions of rand earned by the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela in sales, and expenditure for professional and consultants’ services, including money paid to a consultant company which facilitated the issuing of a mining licence by the department of mineral resources.
In particular, the ownership of a company called Orkid Sarl and its relationship with the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela, and the circumstances in which the company obtained its shareholding, were raised in the report.
Provincial premier Job Mokgoro has resolved to appoint a forensic investigation into transactions and the financial affairs of the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Traditional Council and its companies.
He will also instruct the cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC or the department to take steps to assess the skills of members of the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Traditional Council and to provide appropriate training.
The report states that Pilane did not meaningfully consult with or seek the approval of the community in transactions with third parties, including the application of monies derived from transactions with third parties.
“Kgosi Pilane has established, or authorised the establishment, of a web of companies to conduct business on behalf of or in the name of Bakgatla Ba Kgafela. Persons involves with the companies report only to Kgosi Pilane,” said the Mokgoro's report.
Kgosi Pilane also did not submit the community financial statements to the Auditor-General for audit.
Mokgoro's spokesman Vuyisile Ngesi said forensic investigations into the matter will have to determine how much was embezzled and what criminal charges should be imposed.
“There’s a clear case of misappropriation, but the forensic investigation is to help unearth more. There are overseas companies that were paid monies and couldn’t be traced or accounted for,” Ngesi said.
Thirty-two villages fall under Kgosi Pilane, and the tribe is worth millions of rand as a result of minerals.