S.Africa: Amos Masondo 'ignores' second parks report

A second, independent report into corruption at Johannesburg City Parks recommended disciplinary action against managing director Luther Williamson – but both the department and Mayor Amos Masondo have ignored it.

The Times revealed last week that a forensic audit by law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs found that multimillion-rand tenders were awarded to friends of Williamson and his wife Adele.

Since then a second report, compiled by auditing firm Sizwe Ntsalubu VSP to verify the first, has surfaced.

Both reports were commissioned by the City of Johannesburg days after City Parks last week criticised the first, saying it was “incorrect and baseless”.

The second report reveals that Masondo was aware of the allegations and had met the two whistle-blowers.

“SN [Sizwe Ntsaluba] recommends that JCP [Johannesburg City Parks] consider instituting disciplinary procedures against Luther Williamson on the grounds that he … failed to discharge his fiduciary duty in that he did not act in the best interest of the JCP,” the report said.

The Sizwe Ntsaluba report confirmed Sonnenberg’s findings that general manager for parks beautification Ludwig Holtzhausen was also guilty of irregular practices regarding suppliers.

It agreed with Sonnenbergs that Williamson’s relationship with at least four companies was “questionable and requires further investigation”.

Both reports were presented to the City Parks audit committee, which was sacked and replaced.

City Parks has dismissed allegations and appointed operations executive Geoffrey Cooke as acting managing director after Williamson went on sick leave.
City Parks attorney Sean Sim told The Times that its board had decided not to suspend Williamson and “considered the matter closed”.

Meanwhile, the SA Municipal Workers’ Union has given Masondo a 14-day ultimatum, demanding that he suspend Williamson immediately and that the Sonnenbergs report be handed to the union. Vincent Vena, Samwu’s Gauteng secretary did not rule out the possibility of workers taking to the streets should Masondo refuse to grant their demands.

“We will approach our legal team to get access to the investigative report. They are trying to put it under the carpet,” he said.

Source: www.thetimes.co.za, 20100222

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