DoC seeks legal advice on USAASA probe findings

DoC seeks legal advice on USAASA probe findings

Yunus Carrim. CC image courtesy of GovernmentZA on Flickr.

Communications minister Yunus Carrim has said the findings of an investigation into Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa (USAASA) chief executive officer (CEO) Zam Nkosi will not be made public until after his department has conferred with the Chief State Lawyer’s Office.

HumanIPO reported in July the Department of Communications (DoC) had ordered USAASA to comply with an independent investigation into allegations of corruption at the agency, which receives funding from the country’s mobile operators and aims to ensure people living in remote areas have access to communications and ICT.

The allegations first surfaced in June 7, when Bantu Holomisa, leader of the United Democratic Movement, wrote to President Jacob Zuma claiming to have “disturbing information about the looting of state resources” at USAASA.

He also alleged Nkosi had worked with USAASA chairperson Pumla Radebe previously and that Nkosi’s CV lists Radebe as a reference, though Radebe did not withdraw from the appointment process.

Carrim, in a response to a parliamentary question by Cope member of parliament (MP) Julie Killian, said the investigation had concluded and that the findings have been considered by the USAASA board.

The DoC is now conferring with the Chief State Lawyer’s Office on its next steps, and Carrim declined to elaborate on the findings until this process was complete.

“We will certainly take the matter further, but have to, obviously, respect the legal rights of the USAASA CEO,” he said.

 “When Minister Carrim addressed the committee a fortnight ago we questioned him on progress and he’s basically repeated that in answering Juli’s question,” Marian Shinn, shadow minister of communications for the Democratic Alliance (DA), told HumanIPO.
“If there are sufficient grounds then appropriate legal steps must be taken to hold the relevant people criminally liable and appropriate punishment meted out. We will keep a watch on this issue and keep prodding for an outcome. It is gratifying to know that the issue hasn’t been swept under the carpet and that its seems there is sufficient weight in the allegations to take them forward for possible prosecution.”

In April, Shinn slammed former communications minister Dina Pule for failing to answer a number of parliamentary questions, one of which regarded a forensic investigation into USAASA.

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