Gauteng acting Health MEC Jacob Mamabolo has cleared the Department of Health’s former chief financial officer (CFO) Kabelo Lehloenya of allegations that she improperly appointed a Joburg audit firm to review the department’s annual financial report.
Mamabolo said in a written reply to questions from DA’s Gauteng spokesperson on health, Jack Bloom, that Lehloenya had done nothing wrong.
Bloom had asked Mamabolo to explain why the appointment did not follow normal tender procedures.
In his reply, Mamabolo said the audit firm was appointed for the review of the department’s annual financial statements and annual report for the 2018/2019 financial year. Mamabolo said the department lacked internal capacity.
“The service provider was appointed in terms of contract number A-1A-2017. The appointment of a panel of audit firms to provide audit and risk management services in terms of Regulation 16A6.6. The city manager, Ekurhuleni Municipality, granted approval for the department to participate in the contract number A-1A-2017,” he said.
Mamabolo added the audit firm conducted its job for a month last year and was paid R1 059 791.50.
He confirmed Lehloenya authorised the choice of the company but said there were no irregularities in the appointment and payment of funds.
The DA, however, appeared unhappy with the department’s decision to piggyback on an Ekurhuleni Municipality’s contract.
“We need to know why it went this peculiar route, and why it could not be done internally. I have heard that the department’s staff had to assist them to do the job. Premier David Makhura boasts about the open tender process which he introduced but it is easily bypassed time and again by the Gauteng Health Department,” Bloom said.
“As with other fishy contracts an open tender process was not followed in appointing this company.
“For some strange reason, the city manager of Ekurhuleni Municipality granted approval for the department to participate in contract number A-lA2017 which covers the appointment of a panel of audit firms to provide audit and risk management services,” he said.
According to Bloom, it was suspicious that the firm was appointed by Lehloenya, who was now under investigation over personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts.
“Radical surgery is needed to clear out all the rot in this department to ensure that all wasteful and corrupt expenditure is eliminated,” he said.
But Lehloenya is not off the hook yet. This comes as the Public Service Commission (PSC) last month found that her appointment in health was irregular and unlawful.
The PSC has since asked the Hawks to institute a forensic investigation regarding the alleged criminality in the appointment which was discovered during the investigation of her irregular appointment.
PSC commissioner Mike Seloane said the Gauteng Health Department failed to follow proper public service regulations when it head-hunted Lehloenya for the post in 2018.
“MECs Jacob Mamabolo (roads and transport), Barbara Creecy (former Gauteng finance MEC) and Dr Gwen Ramokgopa (former health MEC), who conducted her interview, were misled about the competence tests by Lehloenya.
“Lehloenya’s competence test was conducted by a non-existent company. There was no vetting on her by the State Security Agency. She also did not have a security clearance when she was appointed to the senior posts of deputy director-general,” he said.
“Her appointment bordered on forgery as it violated regulations by the Department of Public Service and Administration,” he added.
Lehloenya is also expected to appear in the high court in Pretoria next month to challenge the Special Investigative Unit bid to freeze her pension funds for her alleged role in the irregular allocation of a PPE contract while finance boss in the Health Department.
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