- Mar 26, 2010
More at: https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/sas-ambassador-to-italy-recalled-over-irregularities-40463679Johannesburg - South Africa’s ambassador to Italy, Shirish Soni, has been recalled and docked three months’ salary after he was found guilty of financial irregularities and misrepresenting his academic qualifications.
Durban-born Soni, who worked as a senior SA Revenue Service (Sars) official when Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan was commissioner, is facing four counts of misconduct related to sexual harassment, misrepresentation of academic qualifications, financial irregularities and “compromising the mission’s security”.
Soni’s 15-page suspension letter and charge sheet seen by the Sunday Independent stated that he “provided in his personnel file that he obtained his matric in 1974”, which was “false because the department of basic education stated that ambassador Soni doesn’t appear among the names of candidates who wrote the matric or Standard 10 in November 1974”.
He was also charged with breaching security by appointing an Italian woman as an intern against the policies of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco), and causing the embassy to pay for his medical treatment without approval.
In addition, Soni faced a charge of sexual harassment.
According to a letter written to Soni by acting Dirco DG Clayson Monyela, the disgraced ambassador was found guilty by a disciplinary hearing which sat between October 21 and 24.
The hearing was chaired by Sindiswa Mququ who was appointed by the director-general of the department.
Soni was found guilty on charge one, three and four and exonerated on count two. On charge one, the letter said: “You are found guilty on this charge for ignoring guidance that was provided to you by head office management and continued to hire or bring an Italian national as an intern or volunteer at the South African Embassy in Rome thus compromising Mission security.”
On count two, which related to financial irregularities, Soni was also found guilty because as the accounting officer in the mission, “you knew that pre-approval was required beforehand but proceeded anyway to cause irregular expenditure by making the embassy to effect payment for your medical treatment without prior approval of the delegated authority”.
A decision on count four, which related to misrepresentation of matric qualifications, was “deferred” to allow him an opportunity to produce proof of the certificate.