Mampeule ‘failed to disclose criminal charge’

The forensic audit report into the SA Post Office found that Khutso Mampeule, the suspended chief executive, failed to inform the parastatal’s board that he had laid a criminal complaint against Maanda Manyatshe, his predecessor and former managing director of cellphone operator MTN, in February last year.

Manyatshe is now suing the Post Office for R120 million as a result of an article that appeared in the Mail & Guardian to the effect that Manyatshe and two former Post Office executives were to be charged with fraud. According to Manyatshe’s lawyer, Barry Aaron, the amount included the share options that Manyatshe forfeited at MTN when he was forced to resign from the cellular operator as a result of the article.

The Post Office audit was instituted by communications minister, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, in November last year, and was carried out by Andrew Maralack of the auditing firm, SizweNtsaluba VSP Forensics.

The report said: "The chief executive had a fiduciary duty to inform the board members of his intention of lodging a criminal investigation against Manyatshe before he instituted such and give the basis for such. He signed an affidavit for the above action on 27 February 2006, yet he informed a meeting on 11 June 2006 he felt he did not have authority or comfort to institute civil action.

"The board was not aware of the fact that a criminal complaint against Manyatshe had been laid till they became aware from reports in the media during September 2006."

Mampeule alleged that Manyatshe and the two executives were behind an irregular appointment of Vision Design House (VDH) to create a new image for the Post Office at a cost of R100 million.

The Post Office claimed it had been overcharged by R31 million by VDH, while VDH alleged that it was owed R5 million by the Post Office as a result of a breach of contract.

The arbitrators on the matter dismissed the Post Office counterclaim, saying the parastatal had only itself to blame.

The arbitrators also dismissed VDH’s claim on the basis that its contract with the Post Office required a performance contract with every project undertaken and that this had not been done.

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Mampeule ‘failed to disclose criminal charge’