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05 June 2011 at 10:42 - Posted by Anonymous

R30m licensing funds scam boils over


Johannesburg metro police chief Chris Ngcobo addresses the media on corruption. Photo: Dumisani Sibeko

More than R30 million of the Joburg licensing and traffic department’s revenue has disappeared in the biggest cash management scandal to ever rock the Joburg Metro Police Department.

But more than three years after the missing millions saga was first uncovered no criminal charges have been laid against the culprits.

Instead, the JMPD commissioned forensic auditors Nkonki Consulting last year, who could only point fingers at nine licensing staffers, among them cashiers whose combined liability in the scandal amounts to less than R1m.

Nkonki Consulting was appointed by JMPD chief Chris Ngcobo to probe, among others, staff members involved in possible misappropriation of funds, financial misconduct and to quantify the irregularities. However, in many of their findings against the identified staff, the forensic auditors did not recommend any criminal action due to lack of “any prima facie evidence” of defrauding the JMPD.

According to documents handed to Nkonki auditors, which the Saturday Star has seen, the problem of a lack of bank reconciliations for both traffic and licensing is a long-standing one.

In one letter submitted to the auditors as evidence, Anton Klarbach, deputy director of finance at JMPD, wrote to his subordinate warning that more than R30m had not been accounted for on the licensing bank statement.

In their progress report last September on the money totalling over R853 000 linked to the nine employees, Nkonki investigators established that this had been due to transactions that could not balance. The shortages were due to either cash disappearance, the use of fraudulent cheques and cloned bank cards used to register vehicles at Sandton, Loveday and Rosettenville licensing centres.

The drama of the JMPD’s missing millions scandal came to a head this week when the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) wrote to new Mayor Parks Tau and the city manager requesting them to appoint a commission of inquiry to probe the licensing saga.

Samwu has charged that disciplinary processes against nine of its members, two of whom won their cases on appeal, were designed to “cover up management’s ineptitude towards the dysfunctional licensing department”.

Only one employee implicated in the Nkonki report has been found guilty by the JMPD’s internal disciplinary process and fired while another has been demoted to a junior position, according to the union.

The remaining workers out of the nine charged are still fighting their cases internally.

“The losses of money in the licensing department amounted to millions of rands over a period of years with senior management aware of the status quo,” said Samwu’s strike organiser Jack Mokalapa.

“The appointment of Nkonki was a feeble cover-up exercise... which could not explain the whereabouts of millions still unaccounted for.”

Mokalapa said the money that had not been accounted for could now be more than R50m, depending on who you spoke to.

Samwu has threatened an indefinite strike action if the city does not meet its demand over the licensing money saga and other labour issues it said were not addressed by JMPD management. - Saturday Star

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