A draft of a forensic audit report from 2011 uncovered “adverse findings” regarding the husband of Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.
The Star reported that the document, which was commissioned by the Universal Service Access Agency (USAASA), covers a variety of issues relating to human resources, procurement, and governance between 1 April 2009 and 28 September 2011.
Among the report’s most damning findings was that unauthorised and irregular expenditure had taken place which totalled in excess of R80 million.
“It accordingly appears imperative that appropriate disciplinary, civil, and criminal action be taken promptly, if USAASA is to succeed in delivering on its mandate,” said the report.
The report went on to implicate 21 employees including Ndabeni-Abrahams’ now-husband, Thato Abrahams.
A whistleblower alleges that the report was removed from the public record – although it is unclear whether this was done deliberately to protect Abrahams from its implications.
The report allegedly claims that Abrahams was implicated in a human resources irregularity at USAASA – although the pages that provide specific details regarding the implications “appear to have been expunged and are nowhere to be found.”
Despite this, an anonymous source told The Star that Abrahams was implicated in the theft of “about 20 iPads and other electronic gadgets”.
“The forensic report was given to the then deputy minister (Ndabeni-Abrahams) and was concealed from public record while Thato was an employee at USAASA’s marketing and communications department,” claimed the source.
An anonymous executive who worked at USAASA during the period of the investigation also claimed that by the time they received the report, the missing pages were already gone.
The firm which conducted the investigation, Forensic Investigation Risk & Recovery Management, said it was told by USAASA management to commission the investigation, but would not detail its findings to The Star.
“Obviously, we would require their consent to release any information. In the circumstances, we regret that we cannot accede to your request without a directive from USAASA,” said spokesperson Perun Naidoo.
When asked for comment, Abrahams said he had no knowledge of either the investigation or the report.
He acknowledged that he took iPads home, but claimed this was to reconfigure them to use USAASA’s intranet connection. Once he had done this, he claimed to have returned them to USAASA.
“I joined USAASA in 2010 before I met my wife. To avoid any perceived issues of conflict of interest, when my wife was appointed minister, I resigned,” said Abrahams.
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