Sharper teeth for Parliament's financial watchdog committee as Scopa and SIU agree to work together

2019-08-21 21:59
Parliament. (Jenni Evans/News24)

Parliament. (Jenni Evans/News24)

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Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday reached an agreement with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to refer various cases to the SIU for investigation.

Scopa is an important watchdog committee which oversees all state expenditure. 

The agreement has the potential to bolster the efforts of the SIU to recover funds lost to the state from corruption or irregular spending, much like the Special Tribunal established by President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this year.

Scopa spokesperson Faith Ndenze issued a statement on behalf of chairperson Mhluleko Hlengwa, welcoming the agreement.

"The committee and the SIU are currently developing modalities and operating procedures to regulate the process to be followed in such cases.

"Scopa believes that this move will strengthen accountability and consequence management, particularly as it occurs against the backdrop of the amendment of the Public Audit Act, which also seeks to strengthen accountability.

"As Scopa holds meetings with stakeholders, it will find spaces and areas of agreement in terms of what the committee can and cannot do," the statement reads.

Fin24 reported on Wednesday on some of the successes and forthcoming efforts of the SIU. 

"...the Special Investigating Unit has filed a court application on behalf of Eskom to set aside the Tegeta Brakfontein coal supply agreement to the value of R2.7bn."

In February, the Sunday Times reported that the SIU was investigating the alleged theft of R139bn from Eskom, related to the construction of the Medupi and Kusile power stations, reportedly part of a broader SIU investigation into the theft of about R170bn from the power utility.

The statement concludes that "having met yesterday with a principal partner, the Auditor-General, as well as the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) and the National Treasury, it is apparent that Scopa is laying a solid foundation for its work going forward".

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Read more on:    siu  |  scopa
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