State auditors also take bribes – commission

2012-02-29 10:26

Corrupt state auditors are soliciting bribes from rogue government officials to help them hide financial mismanagement in their departments and public entities, the Public Service Commission (PSC) revealed this morning.

The PSC, a constitutional body for good governance, has also urged government to commit resources to Chapter 9 institutions that deal with anti-corruption measures and investigations because “we haven’t won the battle” against corruption.

Addressing the national anti-corruption hotline seminar in Pretoria, public service commissioner Matome Mawasha said fraud, bribery and procurement-related cases remained a cause of concern for the corruption-busting PSC.

He said that fraud, bribery and procurement and appointment irregularities were rife within the public service.“There are other forms of corruption reported to the hotline where certain auditors solicit bribes from senior government officials to change qualified audit reports to unqualified audit reports.

This means government must commit resources to root out corruption and adequately fund institutions such as the office of the Public Protector”, said Mawasha.The seminar was attended by various government departments and institutions including the SA Police Service, Independent Complaints Directorate and the SA Human Rights Commission.

Mawasha commended government’s efforts in rooting out corruption but warned that more resources were needed to deal effectively with the scourge.The PSC, which is responsible for running the hotline, only has a budget of R151 million a year to conduct investigations and also do advocacy work, conduct unannounced visits and monitor good governance within the public service.At the same time whistleblowers needed to be protected to gain public trust.

“The improvement of investigative capacity inevitably means that government must commit as much resources as possible to address capacity constraints in relations to the investigation of cases of alleged corruption,” said Mawasha.

Since its establishment in 2004, the PSC had, through the hotline, recovered over R120 million from rogue officials and 1 273 officials have been charged with misconduct or corrupt activities.

Of these 603 officials were fired, 226 suspended, 134 fined, 16 demoted, while 330 were issued with final written warnings.A further 190 officials were successfully prosecuted.

Fraud and bribery accounted for the highest number of cases, 2 065, followed by abuse of government vehicles (1 025 cases), tender irregularities (956 cases), while 888 cases of mismanagement of public funds accounted had been probed.

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