A furious Patricia de Lille is seeking legal advice after the Swellendam municipality’s former chief financial officer (cfo) accused her of trying to pressure him into awarding an R8 million tender while she was ID leader.
Testifying under oath before the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) in the provincial legislature on Tuesday night, Nigel Delo said De Lille, now executive mayor of Cape Town, had unlawfully intervened in the tender adjudication process by pressuring him into approving an R8m investment tender to financial firm Quadrix in 2009.
Quadrix was the firm with which the ID invested party funds.
De Lille denied the allegation on Wednesday and accused Delo of “lying under oath”. “This is definitely perjury.”
She said she would seek legal advice on Delo’s comments.
Delo was suspended by the Swellendam municipality on December 2, 2009, for “not having the necessary management controls in place” in his department, he told Scopa on Tuesday. He resigned before his disciplinary hearing in February last year, after reaching a settlement with the municipality.
He has since worked as the chief financial officer for the Eden district municipality and is now the chief financial officer in the Kannaland municipality.
Late last month, it was revealed that the province’s Forensic Investigations Unit was investigating allegations that Delo had entered a separate agreement with Kannaland while employed by the Eden District Municipality and was remunerated twice.
Last night, he told Scopa that the bid adjudication committee and the municipality’s supply chain management unit had advised the council not to award the tender to an external service provider because of insufficient funds.
But Swellendam’s former mayor, the ID’s Jan Jansen, and Walter Hendricks, the municipal manager at the time, ignored the advice and awarded the tender to Quadrix, he said.
“The municipal manager took the decision without adhering to our recommendations,” said Delo.
He said before he was given instructions by Hendricks, and after several threats from him and Jansen to approve the tender and pay Quadrix in May 2009, he received a call from De Lille.
De Lille, he claimed, told him that he “should not make the life of the mayor unbearable and put so much pressure on him in terms of the bid”.
Delo said he did not register the time or date of the call, but remembered that it was “definitely before the transaction was made”.
He said it was a short conversation of about three minutes, during which De Lille identified herself and spoke about the bid.
“We will find the exact date and time in the cellphone records,” he said.
Delo added that he found the phone call strange because he had only met De Lille once in Swellendam.
“She (De Lille) was one of our icons. I looked up to her. She is like (US President Barack) Obama… the pressure was unlawful, outside of the legal frameworks.”
Delo was summoned by Scopa to testify on irregularities and maladministration in Swellendam for the 2007-8 financial year, when he served as the municipality’s CFO.
For the first time, during Delo’s term, Swellendam received an unqualified audit report from Auditor-General Terrence Nombembe for 2007-8.
Jansen has on several occasions denied he interfered in the municipality’s finances.
ANC MPL Max Ozinsky said during the Scopa meeting it was shocking that Jansen and Hendricks had overruled a decision by the bid adjudication committee not to award the tender.
DA MPL Mark Wiley asked Delo how sure he was that it was De Lille who had called him.
Delo said: “She introduced herself and the cellphone records will prove it.”
Investigations into the municipality are continuing and criminal charges have been laid by the ANC against various former DA mayoral committee members as well as Jansen, after evidence presented by municipal officials and ratepayers revealed claims of mismanagement and misconduct.
Local Government MEC Anton Bredell has also called on the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to investigate allegations of corruption and mismanagement in Swellendam.
De Lille said today the Quadrix tender had later been withdrawn and the money repaid to the municipality.
“I don’t even know him. I have an affidavit from the municipal manager at the time in which he confirms that the money paid to Quadrix was paid back to the municipality after the tender was awarded.”
De Lille said she would request a copy of Delo’s testimony from Scopa and seek legal advice on the matter.