Corruption is real - AG committee chair

2016-11-16 19:07
AG findings. (News24)

AG findings. (News24)

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Cape Town - The results of the Auditor General's 2015/16 audit report show corruption is not just possible, but is happening, Parliament’s Auditor General committee chairperson said on Wednesday.

"We have unauthorised expenditure of R925m in this financial year; irregular expenditure of R46bn and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R1bn," Vincent Smith told reporters at Parliament.

"I think the Auditor General has been kind when he says certain things lead to a potential conflict of interest or potential corruption.

"I can tell you that it's not potential anymore, there are real conflicts of interest."

Smith, Auditor General Kimi Makwetu and NCOP chair of chairs Jomo Nyambi were briefing media on the release of the Public Finance Management Act report.

Smith congratulated Makwetu on the job his team had done, but said the results showed corruption was real.

He cited a standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) meeting earlier on Wednesday where mention was made of one Sanral official who had three contracts worth R1.32m that had inherent conflicts of interest.

"Six months down the line, the department says they are still investigating. That can't be on."

Hawks, Anti-Corruption Task team roped in

READ: Western Cape best performer in 2015/16 - AG

Smith said both his committee and Scopa were "thinking outside the box" in dealing with underperforming departments and public entities.

"I can indicate that Parliament spearheaded by Scopa, for this term, is not calling departments to discuss their overall annual report anymore.”

Instead, they were specifically focussing on three areas: Unauthorised, irregular, and fruitless and wasteful spending.

He said Scopa had invited members of the Anti-Corruption Task Team and the Hawks to sit in on its meetings permanently, to hold accounting officers to account and keep them on their toes.

Between them, 27 cases against all government departments and entities had been identified for investigation. The committee would entrust the investigations to the two units.

Rampant corruption formula

Makwetu said the overall national average of 32% clean audits across all provinces, departments, and entities was too low, despite an 8% increase nationally.

He said his office used a formula to describe situations where corruption was likely to be rampant.

The formula was: Corruption = Monopoly + Discretion - Accountability.

The entities most vulnerable to corruption had a monopoly, such as state-owned enterprises; were ones where people were willing to act in a certain manner; and had insufficient accountability measures in place.

Nyambi said Parliament acknowledged the frustration about a lack of consequences.

"I think Parliament has to use whatever means it has. Scopa must get involved. For the first time we have called the anti-corruption unit and they will attend all Scopa meetings."

Smith said Parliament had to “up its game”.

"It might be early days, but I'm sure this time next year many of these things would have disappeared."

Read more on:    ag  |  corruption  |  parliament 2016

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