At the beginning of the week, Masoga sent the media a press statement, announcing that he received a “closing report” from the public protector Limpopo office. He claimed that the “closing report” exonerated him.
He announced: “The allegation that the phone bill of the deputy speaker was incurred as a result of watching pornographic material was unfounded.
“The legislature did not violate any policy in settling the phone bill that was incurred on official business.”
The former manager of supply chain involved in whistleblowing the wasteful expenditure was dismissed by the legislature after a disciplinary process on allegations of contravening supply chain management policy and treasury regulations.
Accordingly, the public protector considers the investigation ongoing.
Earlier this week, a legislature official, speaking on condition of anonymity, denied that Masoga was “cleared”.
“Mr Masoga may have been cleared by the public protector. She may very well have said he did not spend R120 000 watching pornography. But the legislature has to debate this matter after a report is tabled. So far, no such report has been forwarded to the legislature or tabled at all,” the official said.
It has now emerged that the report Masoga relied on to clear himself of wrongdoing is the subject of an inquiry.
“It has come to the attention of the public protector that the investigation was irregularly and improperly closed. The public protector only saw the report in question for the first time today [Thursday May 27].
“The conduct of the provincial official(s) in irregularly and improperly closing the investigation is inconsistent with established standards as outlined in our internal Investigations Handbook,” said Segalwe.
Segalwe further explained to The Citizen that “the handbook provides that only the public protector can close investigations that are classified as ‘Special Attention Matters’ (SAM). It defines an SAM as an investigation involving a politician or head of institution or any investigation conducted in terms of the Executive Members’ Ethics Act.”
Due to this status quo, Segalwe said: “Accordingly, the public protector considers the investigation ongoing. Disciplinary steps will be taken against the official(s) involved.”
Though cautious not go into granular details, Segalwe also confirmed that the investigator may face charges of “irregularly and improperly closing an investigation because the investigator did not have the authority to do so”.