THE Gauteng provincial government is still consulting with its lawyers on whether to pursue a civil claim or criminal charges against disgraced department of finance head Stuart Lumka.

Mr Lumka was dismissed on Tuesday following a forensic investigation by auditing firm EY last year that found that he authorised more than R40m in payments to Shimo, a company that had never been contracted to do work for the government. Mr Lumka has been on special leave since May 2014.

Gauteng provincial spokesman Thabo Masebe told BDlive on Tuesday that the provincial government would have to consult with its "legal advisers and they have to give an opinion on whether there is a need to take further action through civil action or given the severity of the misconduct — in terms of the Public Finance Management Act — lay criminal charges".

Mr Masebe clarified that the provincial government had a contract with software developer Novelle. It was determined by the Gauteng Shared Service Centre that a local partner was needed, as Novelle was a foreign company.

"Novelle then had a contract with Shimo on the basis of which Shimo would receive some of the contract work, but that is a matter which is purely between Shimo and Novelle. There was no agreement with Shimo and the Gauteng provincial government. That means there was no basis for the payments," Mr Masebe said.

According to a statement from the provincial government on Tuesday, Mr Lumka could be taken to task for three counts of financial misconduct for payments approved between 2011 and 2013.

Mr Lumka’s approval of the payments also resulted in fruitless expenditure, in the form of a R1m payment cancellation fee.

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