Sita admits fraud, corruption

Durban - There is fraud and corruption in IT purchasing within the State Information Technology Agency (Sita), the institution's acting chief executive said on Monday during the opening of a national conference on the industry.

"Today I want to talk frankly about something that is usually only whispered in corridors or on the golf course," declared Moses Mtimunye at the Govtech Conference which is being attended by several invited overseas guests.

Llewellyn Jones, the former Sita chief executive, suddenly resigned at the start of last year's conference.

At that time there were rumours that Jones, who had been recruited from the private sector for the position, had resigned because of a clash with a senior official who had seemingly interfered with the awarding of IT tenders.

Between 2003 and 2008 government purchased R10bn worth of IT services and products and "one could expect a lot of cheating in order to get hold of some of the pie," Mtimunye added.

In the past year disciplinary steps have been taken against 32 Sita staff members, and 73 complaints received. Criminal investigations are under way in three instances.

Research has shown that allegations of fraud and corruption arise from companies failing to win tenders, dissatisfied officials, a lack of leadership within Sita, mismanagement and ignorance about established procedures.

In a flash survey 80% of conference attendees said that IT purchases and corruption were linked.

"The whole situation is real. We cannot continue supporting this evil," Mtimunye declared.

Richard Baloyi, Minister for Public Service & Administration, says he will act decisively if mistakes are made or dubious decisions taken.

Nevertheless he made an appeal for Sita, IT officials in government and the private IT sector to cooperate, and not to "toss the baby out with the bathwater".

Mtimunye said a new policy was being drawn up that leaves virtually no room for gifts to officials. He also asked for an integrity agreement to be drafted which would become part of every contract.

He believes there is a mistaken impression that only officials are corrupt.

Mtimunye asked people to report fraud and corruption to the appropriate authorities and for Sita and the industry to work together in the best interests of the country's citizens.


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