Sunday, February 28, 2021

Did WUC Human Resource Director misuse company credit card?

An internal audit report compiled by a special audit committee at the cash-strapped Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) indicate how the corporation’s Human Resource and Administration Director (HRAD) Matlhogonolo Mponang might have misused or flouted procedure when using her official credit card to make transactions.

The confidential report, in possession of the Sunday Standard, indicates how Mponang made questionable transactions on numerous occasions which were not in line with the corporation’s policy on the use of official credit card. Sunday Standard is also in possession of WUC’s Policy Document on Credit Card usage and it states; “credit cards shall only be used for business purposes. Personal purchases of any type are not allowed.” The policy also lists expenses that are allowable to be paid by business credit card.

These are: Hotel accommodation and meals, travel meals and fares, fuel expenses for WUC vehicles in an emergency, car hire in exceptional cases and other emergency cases after approval by the Finance Director. On the back drop of the dictates of the credit card policy, the internal audit investigations sought clarity from Mponang on what she was paying for in October 2013 for the amount of P2 667.30.

They found it abnormal that the Finance Director and the Chief Executive Officer had apparently authorized this purchase without indicating the purpose of expenditure. When the Internal Audit Director asked Mponang to provide the purpose of expenditure she indicated that she was on an official trip to Palapye, Francistown and Masunga. In May 2014 Mponang paid P667 “for lunch with PEEPA Chief Executive Officer” but according to the report, “no specific description of what the matter was on regarding WUC business”. Mponang would later explain that “the meeting was a business meeting to discuss latest Corporate Governance trends and general business catch- up.”.

Mponang was also found to have paid P223.50 using the official credit card with no specific description of what the matter was on regarding WUC business. She later explained that she was paying for lunch with AFENA Capital Chief Executive Officer. When asked to explain the purpose of the meeting, Mponang indicated that the AFENA CEO was selling AFENA capital products to her in her capacity as Board of Trustee Chairperson for the WUC Pension Scheme.

Other expenditure that the audit sought clarity on included accommodation payments at Grand Palm and Taj in Cape Town. In some of the cases, the Chief Executive officer was reported to have told the Finance Director that he is the one who granted permission “and therefore there was no need for clarity to be given”.

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