Tshwane to act on corruption report

Tshwane management says metro police chief Steven Ngobeni has been exonerated of corruption claims.

Tshwane Metro Police Department chief Steven Ngobeni. Picture: Pretoria News.

PRETORIA - Tshwane municipal management says it has accepted an explanation from metro police chief Steven Ngobeni which exonerates him from corruption.

In an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News , city manager Jason Ngobeni (no relation to the metro police boss) says the city will also be acting on a 2010 corruption report.

Eyewitness News revealed two weeks ago how a forensic investigation into procurement irregularities was swept under the carpet.

The report implicated the current metro police chief, as well as the city's former fire chief in serious corruption.

Ngobeni says Steven was called to explain whether he was aware the orders he was signing off on were fraudulent.

"He said it would not have been reasonably possible for him at the time to know after just joining the department which acquired those supplies."

The city manager said he was satisfied with the explanation.

"You can't interpret that as an act of corruption because he was not involved in the generation of the requisitions."

Ngobeni says city management has approached the bargaining council for approval to prosecute the other officials implicated in the report.

THE REPORT

The report implicated the Steven Ngobeni in tender fraud amounting to more than R15 million and was allegedly swept under the carpet prior to his appointment.

The 2010 forensic audit found Ngobeni had allegedly signed off on dodgy deals for a subordinate whose wife had been a director at the company providing the services.

Ngobeni was appointed acting chief in November 2011 and to the full position as chief in June 2012.

The October 2010 report, by PSMA Holdings, found that Ngobeni, who was an executive director at the time, was signing off on orders in clear contravention of supply chain management policy.

It is alleged Ngobeni's subordinate and head of security systems, Japie Lerm, was splitting large orders into smaller ones to fall below his R30,000 authorisation threshold.

In one instance the investigation found Lerm spilt a quote into 33 individual orders all below R30,000 which Ngobeni then signed off on.

Steven Ngobeni told Eyewitness News he unknowingly gave the orders the green light.

He said he was new to the position at the time.

He said he was never asked by city management to account for his actions, but Lerm was suspended.

A metro police colleague said Lerm was never prosecuted and all the charges were withdrawn.