Dipaleseng CFO transfers municipal money to tenderpreneur on a Sunday

Dipaleseng CFO transfers municipal money to tenderpreneur on a Sunday
SUNDAY DELIGHT: A section 106 report at the Dipaleseng Municipality in Balfour has revealed how super-CFO Clement Letsoalo (R) single-handedly ran the municipal payment portal without the involvement of the municipal manager, running roughshod over supply chain processes and even making dubious payments on a Sunday, one of them to tenderprenuer Themba Zwane (L). ILLUSTRATIVE GRAPHIC BY 013NEWS/Getty Images/AdobeStock

An investigations report is recommending that the cops and SIU should be brought in to further probe the matter.

A document leaked to 013NEWS shows how ex-Dipaleseng CFO Clement Letsoalo transferred municipal money to a local tenderpreneur one Sunday midday.

The money, a sum of R431 000 was transferred to Themba Zwane, a rich local businessman in Balfour who owns the Mpophoma Construction – a company implicated in a forensic investigation report that found that close to R100-million was plundered in fraud, corruption and bad governance at the Dipaleseng local municipality.

The report was recently released by co-operative governance MEC Busi Shiba and it awaits an “action plan” as it fingers the entire municipal leadership in wrongdoing – and that’s part of the reasons why speaker Xolani Shozi doesn’t want to release copies of it to the public.

But sources at the municipality have leaked the report and are currently leaking out other information of corrupt activities by officials as they ask the Hawks to come probe how their leaders continue to get richer while the majority of people are without employment and proper services.

ALSO SEE: Dipaleseng mayor Khethiwe Moeketsi drives brand new Toyota bakkie bought by two dodgy tenderpreneurs

The document which was leaked to 013NEWS this week is a computer printout from the municipal finance department at the time Letsoalo was the chief financial officer.

The document details two payments made by Letsoalo in 2020 to two bank accounts held by Zwane’s company totalling R3-million.

The evidence shows that Letsoalo was the only person involved with transferring money using the municipal FNB online module and not even the municipal manager had any say on the municipal transactions, which gave Letsoalo the powers to breach supply chain management rules.

Dipaleseng CFO transfers municipal money to tenderpreneur on a Sunday
Controversial former CFO of the Dipaleseng local municipality in Balfour, Clement Letsoalo

The first of the two payments for the R3-million that Letsoalo made to Zwane’s companies is an amount of R431 000 – transferred on the sunny Sunday midday of 12 April 2020 to Zwane’s Mpophoma company, while the other payment is close to R2.6-million transferred on the Thursday morning of 12 November 2020 to Zwane’s Mpophoma Construction.

Sources say they suspect that the R431 000 that Letsoalo transfered on the Sunday of 12 April 2020 was paid to Zwane’s liquor store company – the Mpophoma General and Liquor.

“I think the R431 000 was transferred to the bottle store company because if you look at the two payments, one reflects Mpophoma Construction and the R431 000 reflects only ‘Mpophoma’. I suspect this because when you go to his bottle store in Balfour called Thanda Bantu Bottle Store and you swipe liquor with your card, the slip will say ‘Mpophoma’ and this is the reason I think this money went to this particular liquor store. Well, I can be proven wrong but it’s the reason we say the Hawks should come and give light on all of these transactions and the exact reason for each and every transaction,” one of the sources said when they spoke to the 013NEWS reporter.

Dipaleseng CFO transfers municipal money to tenderpreneur on a Sunday
The FNB online module remittance report shows the two payments made to different bank accounts of two companies that appear to have the same name, one of them made on a Sunday

Zwane failed to answer the 6-point questions sent to him by the 013NEWS reporter Tuesday 22 March 2022 concerning the Sunday payment and whether the Mpophoma entity is in fact the bottle store company.

Two weeks ago 013NEWS reported how a brand new red Toyota bakkie was bought for Dipaleseng mayor Khethiwe Moeketsi by two Limpopo tenderpreneurs who are implicated in Shiba’s investigations report as part of thanking Moeketsi for her influence in ensuring a company owned by the two men received a R20-million security tender at the municipality.

The Legend 50 was delivered to Moeketsi in October 2020, just months after the two men’s Clear Point Security company was awarded work to guard municipal assets in Balfour.

Zwane’s Mpophoma Construction and Clear Point Security are part of the companies that dominate the investigations report – probed for flouting processes when getting work and in ways that investigators say “indicate that some officials at the municipality had vested interests” in their preferences of these companies.

Dipaleseng CFO transfers municipal money to tenderpreneur on a Sunday
Balfour businessman Themba Zwane and owner of Mpophoma Construction who has made huge amounts of money doing business with one of Mpumalanga’s most corrupt municipalities, the Dipaleseng local municipality. His company was found to have flouted processes in a recently released section 106 forensic investigations report

In total, Zwane’s Mpophoma Construction received more than R39-million in just one year – from June 2019 to July 2020, including R490 000 that was deposited to his ex-wife’s company called Lomantuluntulu for hiring out to the municipality a cherry picker truck for a few days.

Also Letsoalo’s name dominates the entire report and it recommends that the SIU or police be called in to swoop on him. Letsoalo resigned on 27 April 2021 at the municipality amid accusations of fraud and corruption – and is rumoured to be eyeing the vacant post of Lekwa municipal manager in neighbouring Standerton.

“On his own accord he tendered his resignation and the municipality subsequently agreed to release him,” municipal spokeswoman Phindile Sidu said, adding that Letsoalo’s contract began on 1 November 2018.

Last week, the DA submitted an affidavit to the Balfour police station, asking the Hawks to come probe Letsoalo – so that he gets arrested and is forced to payback part of a missing R100-million that disappeared from municipal coffers due to fraud, corruption and maladministration in just a year while Letsoalo headed the municipal finance department as chief financial officer.

The party wants the Hawks to probe Letsoalo for an amount R53-million that was irregularly paid to 7 companies that had links to officials, R1.6-million that was squandered in unlawful salary increases, R20-million in unauthorised expenditure increases to tenderpreneurs as well as grants from national and provincial governments that were used in projects they were not intended for.

ALSO SEE: Audrey Maleka’s Msukaligwa ghost salary

Sources claim that Letsoalo is a very rich young man – and allegedly drives any car he wants, while others claim that he still continues to facilitate kickbacks for ANC politicians from companies that currently have work at the municipality.

Dipaleseng CFO transfers municipal money to tenderpreneur on a Sunday
Former Dipaleseng CFO Clement Letsoalo, who resigned in April 2021 amid allegations of fraud and corruption concerning millions of rands that went missing, is said in the forensic investigations report to have been the sole person that controlled the municipal FNB account against municipal laws which say it should be run by various people to ensure transparency

Letsoalo’s alleged corruption at the Dipaleseng local municipality can be traced back to the first day he arrived in October 2018.

During this time the municipality was busy processing his employment as CFO after he passed the interview. Letsoalo wrote an acceptance letter and stated in it that he accepted the “offer of employment contract as CFO” but then he wanted his annual salary to be R960 000 and not the municipality’s offer of R761 000.

In the letter, Letsoalo wrote that there needed to be a council meeting to discuss his unhappiness with the R761 000 being offered on the table and in that way he was going accept the offer of his employment contract.

Despite a council meeting sitting on 25 October 2018 refusing to increase Letsoalo’s salary, the salary was in indeed increased from R761 000 to R960 000 when he began on 1 November 2018 and Letsoalo also charged the municipality an amount of R22 000 for the delays in solving his salary increase issue – the R22 000 was paid into his bank account in December 2018.

FF+ councillor Carel Pienaar said Letsoalo had caused too much “damage” to the municipality, even the issue of him running the municipality’s FNB online module alone created a culture of corruption at the municipality.

“The focus should be on reviewing internal procedures where an individual cannot make payments on their own and where one man is left in charge of a municipal’s payments system. One thing that the investigation report teaches is that it is almost impossible to recover the lost funds once stolen,” said Pienaar, who wants more investigations to be carried out at the municipality to cover the period after July 2020 that is not covered in Shiba’s investigations report.

Letsoalo didn’t answer detailed questions sent to him Tuesday midday this week.

(edited by ZK)
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