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Four corruption scandals this week

Attempts to crack down on rampant corruption in various government departments has led to at least four corruption scandals this week as government officials attempt to "come clean" on what's been going on in their ministries.

The issues are:

  • Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde says there are at least 40 cases of tender irregularities or fraud involving about R3-billion that have been uncovered by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
  • Transport Minister, S'bu Ndebele has confirmed that the department's travel agent, Travkor EPA had been issued with a state credit card and had spent almost R35,5-million between April last year and July this year.
  • Parliament's Standing Committee on Public Accounts says that R2,5-billion in bail, maintenance, admission of guilt, traffic and court fines collected each year are at risk of being defrauded.
  • A report by the Auditor-General has highlighted questionable deals within the Department of Communications that include spending R11 000 on manicures and pedicures and failing to collect R800 000 in rent from a sub-tenant in its Cape Town offices.

Mahlangu-Nkabinde says that criminal charges are likely to be brought against officials in the Public Works Department and that she will "tighten up" on the leasing of properties throughout the country.

The SIU said the fraud involved leases for accommodation and buildings, prestige projects including looking after the President and members of the Cabinet, at least ten capital expenditure projects and general procurement irregularities. Details of the individual cases have not yet been released.

Meanwhile Ndebele says that Travkor had a credit limit on the government's credit card of R5-million a month and there were only three months in more than a year when spending had been less that R1-million on the card.

He says the card is used for booking flights, accommodation and conferences. Not details of the expenditure have been provided.

With regard to the justice system and the collection of money via the courts, Scopa says that there are "inadequate fraud prevention plans" in place, there is a general weakness in controls and a lack of accountability by management. The department has consistently received a negative audit from the Auditor-General.

Questionable transactions in the Department of Communications were revealed in an Auditor-General's report that reveals how one company was awarded tenders worth millions of rands on several occasions without having a proper contract. The Department has refused to comment on the allegations.

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About Paddy Hartdegen

Paddy Hartdegen has been working as a journalist and writer for the past 40 years since his first article was published in the Sunday Tribune when he was just 16-years-old. He has written 13 books, edited a plethora of business-to-business publications and written for most of the major newspapers in South Africa.

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