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SABC blasts corruption probe

The SABC has blasted the Special Investigating Unit, telling Parliament that its probe into corruption at Auckland Park had not yielded significant value considering the almost R20m paid to it.
An SABC task team been set up to monitor the SIU probe on malfeasance at the public broadcaster yesterday told the National Assembly's portfolio committee on communications that "it was near impossible to ascertain what the SIU" was doing at Auckland Park because it had referred back "many cases" to it for further investigations.

This is despite the fact the broadcaster has instituted only nine criminal cases against nine former employees implicated in fraud and corrupt activities uncovered by the SIU investigation that has cost the cash-strapped SABC R19.5m.

"It is the view of the task team that the SIU investigation into the SABC has not yielded any significant value in relation to the amount of R19.5m paid to date," reads a report.

"It is near impossible for the task team to ascertain what the SIU's activity was, particularly as many cases have been referred back to the SABC for further investigation citing time constraints as a reason."

No comment, but...

SIU spokesman Marika Muller declined to comment on the specific matters raised by the SABC task team.

"The SIU is however confident in the quality of the team which was deployed to the SABC and the high standard of work they have produced," she said.

SABC board member Cedric Gina weighed in, saying the SIU had enlisted consultants from private auditing firms which, he said, led to high cost of a probe that did not yield a lot.

"Most of the people that were doing the investigation in the SABC were coming from PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and other companies.

"So they were basically consultants from outside which might explain the kind of money that we have paid," he said.

However, the SABC task team reported to Parliament that it was pursuing nine former employees who had defrauded the public broadcast firm. It was trying to recover R430 000 in overpayments to a now-liquidated travel company that organised for SABC board members and some for their siblings to attend the Beijing Olympics at the expense of the taxpayer.

Card abuse

Sully Motsweni, head of compliance and internal controls at the SABC, said the SIU has only recovered R23 000 from one employee who was found to have abused his company petrol card.

SABC board chairman Ben Ngubane told the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in October 2010 that 11 current and former senior manager had raked up R11m in excessive petrol card expenses at a time when the public broadcaster was bleeding financially.

Motsweni said the SABC chiefs who remained in the broadcaster's employ would repay the money as they have admitted to the debt.

"On the ones where there are individuals who have been identified to have abused the petrol card system, most of them have signed acknowledgements of debts, and the ones that have left the SABC are being followed-up through the normal litigation process."

Source: Daily Dispatch via I-Net Bridge


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