The Head of the Finance Department in the Gauteng Provincial government, Stuart Lumka, has been dismissed from his position due to what has been referred to as financial mismanagement. This was contained in a statement released by the Gauteng provincial government on Tuesday.
According to the statement, Lumka was forced to go on special leave in May 2014 after an investigation of allegations of financial misconduct. The statement further posited that there was unauthorised payment of R48 million to a service provider that was not contracted to the department. The department spokesman, Thabo Masebe said in a statement that Lumka originally faced three charges but had been acquited on one of the charges. The first charge that the former head of finance faced was that he was being accused of making a payment of R48.8 million to Shimo IT Solutions when the department had no legal obligation to do so. In addition, ”He was also charged with acknowledging liability in favour of Novell Ireland Software Limited and Shimo when he was not authorised to do so and that the payments, which were not due, were irregular or fruitless and wasteful expenditure,” according to Masebe. This second charge, Masebe said, had caused the department to incur an irregular expenditure of R2.1 million, which was in a deal that was described as not having been signed in a “fair, equitable, transparent and competitive manner and through an open tender process.” The third charge that Lumka was facing was one in which he had caused his employers to incur fruitless expenditure when he paid Shimo a cancellation fee or R1 million.
According to the spokesperson, Stuart Lumka had been found guilty on the first two charges but had been acquitted on the third one. He added that the chairman of the disciplinary committee had come to the conclusion that the evidence presented had shown that his conduct had shown serious dereliction of duty and that the only action that the committee could take was dismissal as he had abused a position of trust. The chairman of the committee added that Lumka “…… ignored not only legal advice but went against a prior collective decision that there be no further payment to Novell.” Masebe said that his committee was awaiting a response from the state attorney on whether they should pursue criminal or civil action against Lumka in order to recover the money. In his response to the charges, Lumka’s representative said that his client had merely exercised “poor judgement.”