SIU recovered only R34m out of R299m for the state

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) could have recovered R299m in the 2017/2018 financial year, but only managed to recover R34m for the state.

However, as a result of its interventions, the unit prevented payments to the value of R407m in relation to 11 matters and had three contracts or administrative decisions set aside, saving the state R797m. 

This information is contained in the SIU's annual report for 2017/2018.

A total of 18 proclamations were signed by either former president Jacob Zuma or President Cyril Ramaphosa in the financial year, and the unit presented 15 investigation reports to the Presidency.

The SIU made 148 referrals to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Asset Forfeiture Unit and 319 referrals for disciplinary, executive or administrative action. On Wednesday the SIU briefed the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on its annual performance plan.

According to a statement from the committee, it heard that the SIU managed to receive an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General. 

R1.5m in irregular expenditure

The committee, however, highlighted several risks by the SIU, including the non-implementation of SIU remedial actions by state institutions. The committee heard mitigating measures had now been put in place to ensure compliance. 

A memorandum of understanding with the NPA was signed to ensure cases are referred to it and to ensure that prosecutions follow. The parties have agreed to a framework with the NPA, agreeing to act in accordance with it. 

The SIU said revenue collection remained a serious challenge with just over R310m being generated from debt recovery for 2018. The SIU has thus, as a long-term plan, taken up the current composition of the funding model with executive authority, National Treasury, with a view of revisiting it so that debt recovery risks can be mitigated. It further said this might require an amendment to current legislation, reads the statement.

Committee chairperson Madipoane Mothapo raised the issue of the irregular expenditure of R1.5m in the 2017/18 financial year. 

The committee heard that this was due to historical contracts and that the SIU was in the process of regularising these. These contracts refer to travel management, insurance for moveable assets and courier services. The SIU assured the committee that it had developed an action plan to clear the audit findings and that it was making good progress as the end of financial year deadline draws nearer.

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