Dirco DG fired amid probe into botched R118m New York land deal

Dirco DG fired amid probe into botched R118m New York land deal

Kgabo Mahoai has been fired as DG of international relations and cooperation.


Kgabo Mahoai has been fired as DG of international relations and cooperation.

Sebabatso Mosamo, Sunday Times, Gallo Images

  • The suspended director-general of international relations and cooperation Kgabo Mahoai has been fired.
  • Last month, he was found guilty of gross negligence, gross dereliction of duty and breach of legal obligation.
  • In a letter to staff, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said Mahoai was no longer employed by the department.

Suspended director-general of international relations and cooperation Kgabo Mahoai has been sacked.

On Friday, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said Mahoai was no longer employed by the department.

“Please be advised that the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has terminated its employment relationship with Mr KE Mahoai following the conclusion of a disciplinary case instituted against the director-general,” she said.

READ | Suspended Dirco DG guilty of misconduct, points finger at ex-minister over botched New York land deal

In her letter, Pandor said ambassador Nonceba Losi will continue as acting director-general until further notice.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delegated Pandor to institute disciplinary proceedings against Mahoai over a botched R118-million New York land deal.

Last month, Mahoai was found guilty of gross negligence, gross dereliction of duty and breach of legal obligation, as well as irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure.

naledi pandor

Dirco Minister Naledi Pandor.

GCIS

Judge Cynthia Pretorius handed down judgment in his disciplinary case on 23 August.

Mahoai said the New York deal to buy land that didn’t exist was orchestrated, and he allowed payments so that former Dirco minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane could “prevail”.

On 4 March 2016, Dirco published a tender for the appointment of “a development partner, for the design, construction, operation, maintenance and finance of the suitable and sustainable office” and residential accommodation for the South African diplomatic missions in Manhattan, New York City.

The tender closed on 16 April 2016, and on 27 May that year, it was awarded to Simeka Group Pty Ltd/JV Regiments Capital Pty Ltd.

The joint venture had never been tendered for this project.

In her judgment, Pretorius said that on 28 March 2017 Mahoai had approved the payment of $9 million (roughly R117 million) to the Simeka Group.

READ ALSO | More heads should roll in R118m New York land scandal, says the DA

Nevertheless, without the required Treasury Approval III (TAIII) from National Treasury he went ahead and signed the public-private partnership, an agreement that does not exist in the Public Finance Management Act, and approved the payment.

“He had known since December 2016 that National Treasury did not approve the project, as TAIII had not been complied with. The National Treasury, in a letter dated 25 January 2017, informed him that the government’s chief procurement officer does not agree with the decision of Dirco to appoint Simeka,” the judgment read.

Pandor’s spokesperson, Lunga Ngqengelele, told News24: “Staff have been told that ambassador Losi will continue to act as the department has severed its relationships with the DG.”


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