R840 mln wasted in Sisulu’s army

2012-05-10 00:00

CAPE TOWN —  The Defence and Military Veterans minister and the Auditor-General will report in parliament next week on unlawful expenditure of R840 million by the department.

The amount, described in a departmental report as wasted, fruitless and unlawful expenditure, was spent between April 1, 2005, and March 31, 2011.

In a case being investigated by the military police, a senior commander unlawfully spent R4,1 million last year.

Defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu confirmed this case in reply to a parliamentary question.

Sisulu said the official concerned has been suspended and the case is being investigated.

In two other cases being investigated, the department had to cough up R6,2 million in cancellation fees for overseas flights and R38 million due to a cancelled contract.

The department’s chief accounting officer, Mziwonke Dlabantu, said yesterday that further details of the cases wouldl be provided next week.

He said some of the cases being investigated related to weak internal control systems.

The department had a qualified audit report for the 11th consecutive year in 2011. And after 11 years the department still could not provide full evidence of its assets, worth R76,9 billion.

The A-G will report next week on any progress, or otherwise, by the department in its attempt to avoid yet another qualified audit report this year.

The portfolio committee and the department met for only two hours yesterday to discuss the new departmental budget of R37,4 billion.

Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier questioned the department for details about the special defence account to which R5,2 billion was allocated this year.

Defence secretary Dr Sam Gulube said the account was used to buy firearms for soldiers guarding the country’s borders and patrolling the oceans.

He would not elaborate.

“We cannot say publicly what we are buying, because then the enemy will also know about our soldiers,” Gulube said.

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