The president’s office has heeded the call from South Africa’s business sectors to put the brakes on corruption and has ordered a probe into allegations of corruption in no less than seven government departments.
The departments’ procurement practices have come under the scrutiny of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
“The SIU is treating these matters as extremely high priority,” said a Unit spokesperson, who added that keeping Procurement above-board is a problem around the world, but is especially challenging in South Africa.
Forensic investigators, lawyers, accountants and analysts will investigate the Procurement processes of the Department of Public Works (DPW), Department of Arts and Culture, the South African Police Service (SAPS), Department of Health in Gauteng, Department of Human Settlements, Department of Education in the Eastern Cape and the South African Social Security Agency.
Investigations at the DPW will examine “numerous leases negotiated by the DPW for and on behalf of client departments, some of which involve significant amounts”.
The DPW will hand over a significant number of documents to SIU as part of its investigation. Documentation requested includes that related to lease agreements. A departmental spokesperson has confirmed its resolve to co-operate with the investigation.
Allegations that the Department of Arts and Culture misspent or underspent money that it had been allocated for the 2010 World Cup between 2007 and 2009 will be scrutinised.
Furthermore, payments related to leased accommodation made by SAPS personnel with “undeclared conflicts of interest” using the service’s procurement system will be probed.
The Department of Arts and Culture and SAPS have not issued a response.
“We are pleased to note that in each case the relevant ministries and departments are co-operating fully with the investigations, and will continue to do so going forward, because they want solutions. Some ministers have requested the president assist them in eradicating corruption and maladministration in their departments,” said a representative in the president’s office.
No timeline for the conclusion of the investigations has been put forward.
Get up to date with the latest developments and issues affecting Government Procurement at the 2nd annual Public Sector Supply Chain Management Summit, part of SmartProcurement World, hosted at Gallagher Convention Centre, November 16 – 18, with a spotlight on best practices, case studies, leading trends, advances and success stories and a legislation update in Public Sector Supply Chain Management.