Scopa: ‘no more hiding behind sub judice rule’

2010-08-18 00:00

KZN provincial departments won’t be able to hide behind the sub judice rule to avoid reporting on forensic investigations conducted within their departments.

The province’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) has taken legal opinion on the matter. The committee was advised during a sitting yesterday that the rule does not apply to forensic investigations and that the matter becomes sub judice only when a court case is in progress.

The KZN Social Development Department, which appeared before Scopa yesterday, was previously picked out for hiding behind the sub judice rule. Department representatives were warned yesterday that since the legalities have been cleared up, Scopa expects a full report back on the investigations when the department next appears before the committee.

This will include the inquiry into the sustainable livelihood project. Details of the investigation were released to the media earlier this year and it was recommended that 163 project managers be charged with fraud. Committee members had expressed frustration that the full forensic report had not been released to them and they could not monitor progress on the implementation of the investigator’s findings.

The Agriculture Department also appeared before Scopa yesterday. Members expressed their satisfaction that the turnaround strategy and a new staffing structure have being successfully implemented, resulting in savings.

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