The Auditor-General's office has written an urgent letter to the crisis-marred Msunduzi Local Municipality to demand detailed information around dismissed human settlements head Radha Gounden, News24 can exclusively disclose.
Hours after News24 published a story on Gounden's dismissal, Auditor-General audit manager Ashnee Mohan wrote to Msunduzi Municipality manager Lulamile Mapholoba, demanding to see Gounden's termination letter.
Gounden is among four officials implicated in a Hawks investigation.
Mohan asked for the following information around Gounden's termination:
- The termination letter;
- Instruction letter for instituting investigation into allegations of fraud, if applicable or information on which public body the matter was referred to;
- A list of implicated officials;
- Details of the supplier and payment report reflecting expenditure to date made to the implicated contractor; and
- All other applicable supporting documentation.
Mohan's letter came less than 18 hours after News24 reported that the Hawks are investigating a case of R14.2-million fraud at the municipality.
A municipality document lists Gounden as the implicated official alongside four others.
As previously reported, in a letter to his friends, Gounden told them, "It is with great sadness that I write this message to you all. Today, I was served with a termination of employment letter following a disciplinary process that found me guilty of financial misconduct. In the main, all the charges related to not having supporting documents when I signed invoices. A practice that is done in the entire organisation and for which there is no standard operating procedure for what supporting documents are needed to be attached to an invoice."
His letter added, "The sanction I believe is the harshessed [sic] but noting what happened to our GM and SM, it was expected. I am considering appealing the letter. I thank you all for your commitment and dedication over the many years of my service and wish you all the very best. Keep up the good work going forward. I will always be available to offer you advice and guidance in future. And a long lasting friendship."
Gounden's spokesperson, Yuven Gounden, was approached for an updated comment in relation to the Auditor-General's comments.
He said the Auditor-General's office had not been in touch with Gounden.
Mapholoba said the Auditor-General's request was confidential and said he would respond within 48 hours to the request.
The Auditor-General's office was approached for comment on Thursday evening.
Their comments will be added once received.