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LOBAMBA – “Fetch that car.”  The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is keen to set the cops on former Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) boss Thanda Mngwengwe, to return the Mercedes Benz ML63, which he is said to have taken to South Africa after his contract was not renewed.

PAC Chairperson MP Phila Buthelezi asked the new ACC Commissioner, Daniel Dlamini, what had happened to the Mercedes Benz which cost over E1 million and the three brand new VW Golf 7 GTI hatchbacks which had been purchased for the ACC by government.

Dlamini acknowledged the three VW Golf 7s, which he said as soon as he was appointed into office last year, that was one of the first issues he had dealt with.
He said he had since serviced the vehicles and the keys were actually in his possession. He invited the PAC to come and view the vehicles which he stated that he hoped would be done in private, because the vehicles were still going to be used for covert operations.


Meanwhile, Dlamini distanced himself from the Mercedes Benz and instead invited Central Transport Administration (CTA) General Transport Manager (GTM) Washington Khumalo to address the issue.

Khumalo informed the PAC that the car was with Mngwengwe and confirmed that it had been purchased using government funds.
However, he then asked the PAC chairperson if he could address the issue in camera, which was when the media was excused from the House of Assembly chamber.

Buthelezi was, however, reluctant that the matter be heard in camera and said perhaps what Khumalo wished to address did not need to be done in private.
After about five minutes of the caucus, MP Buthelezi said the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, who were instrumental in the drawing up of Mgwengwe’s contract, should appear before the PAC to explain the contents of the contract.

He said he wanted to know if the contract stated that Mngwengwe would then get to keep the car which had been purchased by government in 2014.


“If it appears that he did not leave with clean hands, then we will instruct the police and the GTM to go and fetch the vehicle from the former commissioner,” said MP Buthelezi.

The chairperson, who is Matsanjeni North Member of Parliament (MP), said it was unacceptable that the taxpayers money would be allowed to go down the drain and said the vehicle needed to be returned and put back in the government pool or be taken back to the ACC for use by the new commissioner.   

Meanwhile our sister publication, the Times SUNDAY, had last October reported that the vehicle had been registered in South Africa for security reasons, in that the ex-ACC boss did not want the vehicle to bear the country’s number plate because he regularly travelled to South Africa where foreign-registered cars were easy targets for carjacking.

  Mngwengwe is a South African citizen and his contract as a commissioner of the ACC expired in January 2018.   
Interviewed sources at the time and executives, said they did not remember the registration numbers of the car because Mngwengwe hardly used it. They could only recall that it was a Mercedes Benz ML63, which cost government E1 593 756.   

This was not the first time the ACC has been dogged by the controversies surrounding the whereabouts of its vehicles.
In March 2018, the Times SUNDAY had further uncovered that three brand new VW Golf 7 GTI hatchback vehicles purchased for the commission went missing.

Each of the vehicles was purchased at a price of E421 436.84, which means a total of E1 264 310.52 was spent on the acquisition.
The vehicles, which were red in colour, were 2017 models purchased from VW Palm Motors in South Africa. The cars were delivered in the country and further registered with the Motor Vehicle Register.
Their whereabouts remained a mystery until Dlamini’s revelation before the PAC.  One of these vehicles was given the government registration number GDS 023 JU but used the private registration number VSD 943 BH. A second vehicle was allocated the government registration number GSD 013 JU, with its private registration number being VSD 944 BH. 
The third vehicle bore the government registration number GSD 022 JU while its private registration number was VSD 945 BH.

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