Treasury gets chief procurement officer

2012-02-22 12:39

The National Treasury will for the first time appoint a chief procurement officer in a quest to combat tender corruption across all state departments, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has announced.

“The Treasury will appoint a chief procurement officer who will have overall responsibility for monitoring procurement across government,” said Gordhan during his 2012 budget speech in Parliament.

The announcement of the chief procurement officer’s position comes after Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde was axed as minister of public works after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Mahlangu-Nkabinde and suspended police commissioner Bheki Cele had deviated from their fiduciary duties when they procured and negotiated a police building in Durban. Earlier last year, Madonsela instructed Cabinet to interrogate Mahlangu-Nkabinde on her decision to revalidate a lease agreement for police headquarters in Pretoria after it was cancelled by her predecessor.

Mahlangu-Nkabinde’s replacement, Thulas Nxesi, said today that his department was conducting an audit on 3 867 government lease contracts valued at R3.1 billion annually.

Nxesi said the aim of the audit “was to go through all lease contracts one-by-one” to identify irregularities.

Where irregularities are found, the department will approach the courts in a bid to nullify the contracts and recover money in cases where the government was overcharged.

Gordhan said the Treasury has already issued new regulations which require departments to submit annual tender programmes, limit variations to orders and require disclosures of all directives.

“Significant progress is being made in identifying and dealing with those who have abused the system and whose activities fall within the category of priority crimes,” he said.

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