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13 May 2014 13:41
Opposition parties requested the probe into how taxpayers' money released for Madiba's memorial services had been used. (Reuters)
Government funds meant for former president Nelson Mandela’s memorial and funeral were not misused, an ANC official in the Eastern Cape said on Tuesday.
“We reject the constant insinuation by some newspapers that the ANC-led government blatantly disregarded existing financial management and procurement laws when procuring services around the funeral service of our former president,” spokesperson Mlibo Qoboshiyane said on behalf of the ANC provincial secretary in the Eastern Cape.
The Sunday Times reported that millions of rands in public funds spent on the funeral were paid to suppliers without official approval, and that some of the money was used for the ANC’s election campaign.
It reported that some of the findings of a forensic report handed over to police investigators the Hawks showed that the Eastern Cape Development Corporation irregularly disbursed R22-million of the funds spent on the funeral, including payments for T-shirts, food and transport.
The report showed that another R55-million spent fell outside the scope of the investigation, suggesting that the tally of payments could be higher.
The Eastern Cape provincial treasury reportedly deposited R250 000 into ANC provincial chairperson Phumulo Masualle’s bank account, the newspaper reported.
This amount was then reversed five days later after questions about the transaction arose. Qoboshiyane said the reports were an attack on Masualle.
“The propensity of the sources used by the newspapers and their attempt to caricature our provincial chairperson the way they did is clear opportunism of desperate proportions.”
Auditor proofHe said that any transaction on Masualle’s personal account was later withdrawn and redirected to a government account, and only R1 088 was used for official business.
“Auditors who will be auditing the usage of these funds will attest to this.”
Qoboshiyane said government used existing processes and institutions of accountability to deal with matters of fraud, corruption and the misuse of public funds. “We rely on those processes and institutions to deal with such matters and not on some unknown ghosts speaking as sources in the media with no audacity to reveal their identity for the purpose of verifying and concretising their allegations.”
He said media editors were uninformed and “armed with bias, and manipulated information, prosecuted by individuals inebriated by undefined personal interests”.
“We will not be shocked if the peddlers of manipulated and wrong information release another batch of manipulated information, paraded as factual information, to unsuspecting editors gullible to anything appearing to be a scoop.”
He urged editors to exercise caution and verify the nature of the information they received.
He said the state was investigating the fraud allegations and anyone with information regarding the misuse of funds should report it to law enforcement agencies.
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