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Former SABC executive Hlaudi Motsoeneng has neither confirmed nor denied allegations of fraud relating to procurement at the public broadcaster. This after a legitimate tender for refurbishing a studio was reportedly abruptly cancelled and awarded to a company called Vision View. Eyewitness News reports that costs for the refurbishment appeared to be grossly over-inflated, and that finance managers who attempted to bring the irregularities to the now defunct board were suspended. The tender cancellation reportedly formed part of a collusive deal to award R42 million to refurbish a multipurpose studio. “No, my brother, I’m not going to comment at all,” said Motsoeneng on Tuesday, when Independent Media contacted him on his phone. Under fire Motsoeneng was expected to address an ANC Youth League event in Durban on Tuesday.
Earlier this month the courts ruled that Motsoeneng’s recent appointment as the SABC head of corporate affairs was invalid, and ordered him to stop reporting for duty. Motsoeneng, who was accused by his subordinates of running the broadcaster like his fiefdom, was appointed to the post after the Supreme Court of Appeal confirmed a Western Cape High Court ruling that his appointment as chief operating officer was irrational and must be set aside. This was as a result of the public protector’s findings that he misrepresented his matric qualification and hiked his salary from R1.5m to R2.4m in a single year. Meanwhile, lone board chairperson Professor Mbulaheni Maguvhe finally succumbed to pressure on Monday and resigned from the board, several months after members had quit the board. The processes to appoint an interim board would be looked into when Parliament reconvenes on January 24.