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How official may have abused taxpayers’ money to buy underwear, jeans etc.

Men’s underwear, designer jeans, jerseys and striped shirts, are some of the items that a manager in the Mpumalanga provincial legislature allegedly bought using the tax-payers’ money.

An investigation by Ziwaphi has uncovered how a Mpumalanga provincial legislature senior manager allegedly misdirected money meant for legislature uniform to buy himself clothes not covered by the uniform policy.

Documents seen by Ziwaphi, which include an invoice, show that a senior manager for proceedings and Hansard services, Justice Modipane, may have bought 21 items costing almost R14 000.

Legislature spokesperson, Zamagambu Memela-Gamede confirmed that the institution was investigating the incident.

“The Secretary to the Legislature is in the process of directing the Legal Section of the Legislature to investigate this matter and action will be taken against anyone who will be found to have transgressed or violated our policy,” said Memela-Gamede in August.

Despite Memela-Gamede’s assurance, a source who spoke on condition of anonymity told Ziwaphi that the only so-called investigation that the legislature instituted was to establish who had leaked the information to the media instead of investigating the Modipane’s alleged actions.

The source also confirmed that the legislature officials confronted the clothing shop, Nevills at the Riverside Mall, to establish whether they had disclosed the information about the exact items that were bought at the shop, which included, 2 pack of underwear (like the one in picture), designer jeans and a jersey, 2 x golf shirts, striped shirts and boots.

The source said that the clothing shop gave the legislature the name of an official who had requested the information, but nothing was asked about the items that Modipane allegedly bought.

When approached to establish if any action had been taken against Modipane since August, Memela-Gamede failed to respond, but an official in the legislature confirmed that Modipane was still at work, and that he even attended the Taking the Legislature to the People programme at Dr JS Moroka last week.

Memela-Gamede had initially denied that the legislature had paid for items which are not covered by the uniform policy.

“It is not true that the Legislature bought these items for the said official as purported in your media query. In accordance with the information on our records, we are comfortable that the procurement of the uniform was made in line and in accordance to the Legislature Uniform, protective clothing and clothing allowance policy. Therefore the allegations as per your query remain unfounded,” she said in mid-August.

When confronted with the invoice, however, she promised that the legislature would investigate.

“Whilst we still believe our procurement was in line with our policy on uniform as informed by the documented information at our disposal, it is worth mentioning that this new information received is disturbing and at this stage, we can neither deny nor confirm the allegations,” she said in a written response.

According to documents seen by Ziwaphi, however, the quotation lists seven items which are covered by the policy, namely, a suit, formal shows, 2x formal shirts, socks, a tie and a belt.

The total costs of the seven items is R13 943.

The invoice, however, has only three items which are covered by the policy, namely, a belt, plain shirts and socks. The rest, which include 21 items, are designer jeans, jerseys, striped shirts, boots and other items not covered by the policy.

The quotation shows that most of the money is concealed under the item, 2 PCE suite. The item costs R8 999.00 

The invoice, however, does not show that any suite was bought.

The legislature has been in the spotlight in recent months after the auditor-general made damning findings on irregular expenditure.

Legislature secretary, Linda Mwale, was quoted in one of the local newspapers as saying that the findings of the auditor-general were incorrect.

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