Zaly faces M16 fraud charges

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Tefo Tefo

FORMER Communications, Science and Technology ministry Principal Secretary (PS) Nonkululeko Zaly on Monday appeared before the Magistrate’s Court facing charges of fraud and flouting procurement procedures when she acquired Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment for the ministry worth M16 million.

Ms Zaly (52) is accused of allegedly using her position unlawfully as the Chief Accounting Officer of the ministry by approving the payment of M16 690 233.10 to EOH Mthombo (Pty) Limited company for the upgrade of software at the ministry’s data centre.

Part of the preamble to the charges states EOH was awarded the contract on 23 April 2014 and “attended to the upgrade”.

But on 13 November 2014, EOH identified certain additional equipment necessary for the upgrade and submitted the quotation to the ministry in the amount of M16 690 233.10. The additional equipment was meant for backup solutions, replacement of end-of-life equipment as well as virus and malware removal.

Ms Zaly allegedly approved the quotation without following procurement procedures as stated in the Public Financial Management and Accountability Act of 2011 and Public Procurement Regulations of 2007.

The charges also state the ministry’s ICT department refused to take delivery of the equipment due to the alleged infraction. Ms Zaly is also alleged to have “unlawfully instructed” various people to take delivery of the equipment “notwithstanding the fact that the procurement procedures had not been followed”.

After the said people also refused to comply with Ms Zaly’s instructions, the former PS allegedly signed the delivery note on behalf of the ministry.

She is charged with four different counts revolving around the same allegations, namely fraud, abuse of function of office, deliberately contravening Public Financial Management and Accountability Act of 2011 and Public Procurement Regulations of 2007 as well as instructing employees to contravene the Act and Regulations.

In the first count of fraud the former PS is accused of “unlawfully and deliberately” making false representations and/or concealing from ministry officials the details of the quotation.

In count two she is charged under the Prevention of Corruption and Economic Offences Act of 1999 for allegedly using her position unlawfully to approve the ordering of equipment worth M16 million.

Count three relates to alleged failure to observe the procurement regulations which stipulates that contracts involving huge amounts of money should go through a tendering process.

In count four, Ms Zaly is accused of making other people contravene the law.

Chief Magistrate ‘Matankiso Nthunya released the former PS on bail on the condition she paid M3 000 as bail deposit and gets a person to stand as her surety to the amount of M20 000.

Ms Zaly was also ordered to attend remands each last Friday of the month and appear again in court on 12 September 2016.

The former PS was initially fired in November 2013 for alleged insubordination but reinstated in October 2014 following a protracted legal battle. However, she was fired again last year along with other PSs appointed by the previous coalition government after the election of the current Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili-led administration.

 

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