Top ANC members scored millions from failed Joburg broadband project

The Sunday Times has reported that top ANC officials scored millions of rand from a failed broadband project for the Johannesburg metro.

The project is being investigated by police for fraud and corruption, while the US department of justice is also reportedly interested in the matter.

Ericsson and BEE partner CitiConnect Communications, which had three top ANC members as directors, are targets of the investigation.

The Sunday Times reported that the broadband project was set to cost R600 million and be completed in 2013.

As of January 2019, legal fees and audits have pushes to cost to R1.7 billion – and the network is not finished.

It was added that the project leaders “bent over backwards” to accommodate Ericsson and added millions to the project cost.

US investigation

A report on the broadband project given to the City of Johannesburg has called for it to contact the US department of justice to see if the alleged fraud falls under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba confirmed that he has met US officials to discuss the report.

This is in addition to the project being investigated by local authorities.

Minister

One of the top ANC officials who was a director of CitiConnect Communications was public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo, stated the Sunday Times.

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,” said Dlodo.

The latest report comes after the City of Johannesburg suspended a senior official after he refused to cooperate with forensic investigators looking into the Johannesburg Broadband Network Project in 2017.

This included the city “inexplicably” paying R1.3 billion for a 900km broadband network in 2015.

This came after the city cancelled its contract with CitiConnect Communications to build and run the network in 2014, after it “failed to meet its obligations”.

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Top ANC members scored millions from failed Joburg broadband project