Treasury tackles crooked purchases

2010-11-29 00:00

THE provincial Treasury is tightening procedures in an attempt to control fraud and corruption in government procurement processes.

Speaking in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature on Friday, the MEC for Finance, Ina Cronje, said the law allows leeway to enable the rapid procurement of goods in cases of disaster.

But, she added, lately everything the government has to procure is seems to be “labelled an emergency”.

Cronje said that once procurement is treated as an emergency, it only requires three quotations, and that is where collusion between government officials and service providers occurs.

The MEC said the emergency procedure would apply, for example where there has been storm damage to property and/or loss of life.

“It would be impractical to call for competitive tenders to provide relief to the affected.”

She said the provincial Treasury has discussed its concerns with the national Treasury and moves are afoot to tighten up the loopholes.

Regulations are in the pipeline that will spell out the conditions under which deviations from the usual procurement process may occur.

Cronje said another area of concern involves the inflation of prices by bidders in collusion with officials in the government procurement units. “This occurs precisely because nobody watches the market clearing prices of what government procures …

“In one instance government paid R6 000 for a garbage bin and in another R20 for a 500ml of bottled water per unit,” she added.

The MEC said the provincial government will be developing a price list of all goods and services to “ensure that we don’t pay more than we should.”

The price list will be updated daily.







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