The Democratic Alliance (DA) has submitted documents relating to what they term “alleged irregular transactions” at the ailing financial institution, Land Bank, to the independent forensic investigating team, Deloitte & Touche. They claim Land Bank has been using funds for purchasing land that is not intended for agricultural purposes.
According to a statement released by the DA, Land Bank allegedly approved a loan under the Land Development Financing (LDF) project amounting to R750 million for a low-cost housing project in Marian Hills, Durban. In addition, a previous Land Bank general manager, George Oricho, committed Land Bank to R153,6 million for the purchase of four blocks of land in the Umkomanzi Drift area. “The DA is in possession of a letter, dated 15 August 2006 and signed by Mr Oricho, who has left Land Bank in September 2006 and is no longer an employee. These transactions are suspicious because the land purchased with the loan money is not intended for agricultural purposes,” it said.
“Land Bank is an organisation in trouble. The chairperson of the board of directors of Land Bank, Lungile Mazwai, acknowledged this when he appeared before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in Parliament this week. A forensic investigation by independent auditors Deloitte & Touche has been ordered into activities at Land Bank, which includes the LDF, a project of Land Bank. A moratorium has been placed on the granting of credit for LDF projects as the question arose whether the LDF is in line with the mandate of the Land Bank Act,” said the DA, adding that it welcomed the investigation into these transactions. “This is an ideal opportunity for us to submit any documents we have to assist with the forensic investigation,” said DA MP Anchen Dreyer. – Gwenda van Zyl