James Aguma not off the hook yet – SABC board

Former SABC chief financial officer James Aguma might have resigned and had disciplinary charges against him dropped, but he is not off the hook just yet.

Aguma could still face criminal charges pending a forensic investigation into irregular and wasteful expenditure at the SABC, interim board chair Khanyisile Kweyama said at his disciplinary hearing in Sandton on Wednesday.

Aguma’s lawyer earlier announced that his client was resigning from the public broadcaster.

He faced 10 charges, including the breaching of his fiduciary duties.

Kweyama said certain contracts entered into during Aguma’s tenure had been referred to the Special Investigating Unit. Should he be implicated in wrongdoing, he could face criminal charges, she said.

Golden handshake
Aguma allegedly awarded Lorna Vision, which the SABC had hired to collect TV licence fees, a contract without following proper tender process.

The interim board said it intended to recover its money, should the SIU investigations find the Lorna Vision contract was in violation of the law.

Lorna Vision took legal action to recover what it argued was money the SABC still owed it for its work.

Kweyama denied claims that the interim board had let Aguma off easily. He would not get a “golden handshake”, she said.

“There is no settlement discussion, so this is what you call a normal resignation.”

She alluded to Aguma being pushed to resign after receiving documents his lawyer Osborne Molatudi had requested. These included minutes of the SABC board’s meeting, at which it resolved to have him suspended.

Earlier, Aguma’s lawyer applied to have the disciplinary hearing set aside. He argued that the SABC’s interim board should first have taken a resolution to institute such a process.

In the absence of such a resolution, accompanied by minutes and transcripts of the interim board’s meeting, the hearing should be set aside. The SABC said it had provided the relevant documents to Aguma.

Democratic Alliance deputy chief whip, Mike Waters, said Aguma’s departure reiterated the urgent need for National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, to table the report about the parliamentary inquiry into the former SABC board’s fitness to hold office.

“The report, compiled by Parliament’s Legal Services Unit, identifies the persons who misled the inquiry or provided false information or false testimony, with the aim of criminal charges being laid,” he said. – News24

Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa Associate Leturer and Co-ordinator of the Honors Programme.
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