Three senior ANC members are facing possible fraud charges after they scored millions of rands from a botched City of Johannesburg broadband project.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, police are currently investigating public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo, deputy defence and military veterans minister Kebby Maphatsoe, and former diplomat Lerema Kekana for their role in the project.
The three ANC members were directors of BEE partner, CitiConnect Communications, which worked on the deal alongside the multinational telecommunications company Ericsson.
Originally set to go live in 2013 at a cost of R600 million, legal fees and audits have resulted in the total cost of the Johannesburg broadband project rising to R1.7 billion.
A report by Nexus Forensic Services and affidavits by city officials reportedly show that the project’s bosses ‘bent over backwards’ to accommodate Ericsson South Africa and how this later added millions to the original costs.
Possible US involvement
The Sunday Times reports that Johannesburg mayor, Herman Mashaba, met with US officials to discuss the report on Tuesday (15 January).
While US embassy spokesman Rob Mearkle declined to comment, Mashaba told the Sunday Times the US officials had undertaken to ascertain if US laws had been violated.
Speaking to the paper, Dlodlo admitted to her role in the project, and said she had been led to believe ‘it would benefit Umkhonto we Sizwe veterans’.
Dlodlo also admitted that she made R3 million from selling shares in the company, but resigned from it when she joined parliament.
“It was a lucrative deal which I wanted to be part of. It was not illegal,” she said.