News - Any corrupt members of EAAB to face the music

Pretoria - Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) members responsible for financial irregularities at the statutory consumer protection body of the property industry will face further disciplinary action in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

Nomonde Mapetla, the EAAB's chief executive, confirmed this yesterday and said no irregularities were found with the Fidelity Fund, which is used to pay claims to people who have lost money from doing business with a registered estate agent.

Mapetla said the fund was "financially sound" and "in an extremely favourable financial position".

"Any rumours to the contrary are not only totally unfounded and malicious in the extreme but are certainly not based on knowledge or the empirical facts," she said.

Mapetla's comments follow a Business Report article published earlier this week stating that the EAAB was in turmoil amid allegations of financial irregularities and five members of its board had resigned following the completion of a forensic audit into its affairs.

The alleged irregularities apparently relate to the redecorating of the EAAB's offices, false claims for training that was not provided, false expense claims, irregular promotions and "jobs for pals".

Mapetla said she had commissioned a full audit of the Fidelity Fund and of the EAAB when she took office.

"As the statutory body for the [property] industry, we are committed to full transparency, good governance and accountability to our many stakeholders. The findings of the report have led to the resignations of five members of the board."

Although she would not name them, the board members believed to have resigned include chairman Linda Nyembe and deputy chairman Valencia Mazibuko.

"We are satisfied that action has been taken to rectify the financial irregularities that were found and further disciplinary action will be implemented in terms of the PFMA," said Mapetla.

She added that the EAAB was awaiting instructions from trade and industry minister Mandisi Mpahlwa regarding the board.

However, Mapetla said the EAAB continued to serve its constituents and the public by protecting the rights of consumers while maintaining the highest ethical standards within the property industry.

The minister is considering a report from the EAAB board on how it believed he should address the issues raised in Deloitte's forensic audit report.

Article by: Roy Cokayne - www.busrep.co.za