City of Joburg accused of dragging its feet on investigating Metrobus officials
Whistle-blowers seeking justice over alleged corruption and maladministration at Metrobus have accused the City of Joburg’s group forensic and investigations services unit of dragging its feet on investigations against implicated high-ranking officials.
The sources were infuriated following an article published in the Saturday Star last week regarding revenue losses running into millions of rand. Officials have attributed the losses to loopholes in the revenue collection system.
Last week, Metrobus spokesperson Goodwill Shiburi said an estimated fare revenue shortfall of R25million a year could be directly attributed to the poor system.
However a whistle-blower, a former employee who could not be named, claimed this week that Metrobus officials were misleading the public.
“It is a complete fabrication that the shortfall owes to loopholes in the revenue collection systems. Metrobus officials have deliberately ignored recommendations by more than 10 forensic reports pointing to fraudulent activities in the system.
“The real reason is that Metrobus is not interested in good governance. People are benefiting from the so-called loopholes,” he said.
He showed the Saturday Star audit reports that made adverse findings on governance systems and the revenue collection regime at Metrobus. The recommendations of these reports were allegedly not implemented.
Among the audit reports seen by the Saturday Star was one by Bonani Chartered Accountants four years ago. The scope of its internal audit report entailed “evaluating the adequacy and effectiveness of the controls relating to revenue management”.
The report pointed out deficiencies in revenue systems, noting that daily reports from Computicket recording trip sales, sales of tags, refunds and commission sent to the revenue officers at Metrobus were not sent in PDF format in some instances. This left these documents “exposed to unauthorised alteration”.
It also highlighted the lack of synergy between a financial accounting system used to maintain the general ledger of Metrobus called Oracle and the main revenue collection tool, Wayfarer.
“There should be an interface between Oracle system and Wayfarer system to ensure that revenue that is reported in the Oracle system is the same as the revenue from Wayfarer.”
A 2017 report titled “Deviation”, written to the board by suspended Metrobus managing director Sabata Makoele stated that the Wayfarer system recorded error transactions despite the service provider’s assertion that this did not happen.
“The error transactions are processed on the Computicket system as refunds, allegedly to revenue collected (ie 49% of the time this has been established to be fictitious and fraudulent).”
It was established that most of the refunds were authorised by the Computicket manager and some by Metrobus customer care staff.
Insiders allege Makoele is facing push-back from certain individuals following his endeavours to close the revenue gaps and to implement recommendations of various forensic reports detailing problems in the company.
The Bonani report also noted that the lack of separation duties exposed the company to collusion and fraud.
“Segregation of duties provides two benefits: a deliberate fraud is more difficult because it requires collusion of two or more persons; and it is much more likely human errors will be noted.”
Last week, Transport MMC Nonhlanhla Makhuba said the City of Johannesburg had budgeted R80m in the 2019/2020 financial year and R50m in 2020/2021 for a revenue collection system.
The integrated cashless system was expected to be implemented in 2021.
Yesterday, executive mayor Herman Mashaba confirmed the city was in possession of audit reports and other material revealing failures of governance and allegations of corruption.
He conceded that cases relating to revenue collection at Metrobus were of a criminal nature.
“The leaks in Metrobus are criminal in nature. Shadrack Sibiya (head of the City of Joburg’s group forensic and investigations services unit) and his team are working but the problem is in processing of the cases.”
The Saturday Star