THE DEAD BIDDING FOR CONTRACTS IN S. AFRICA
PRETORIA: South Africa’s National Treasury has discovered about 12,000 dead people in its register of companies that do business with the state.
This was among the outcomes of a clean-up of the information system that the Treasury’s procurement office undertook as the government battled to rein in spending, said Schalk Human, the unit’s acting head.
It also identified about 14,000 state employees who were listed as directors of companies that were awarded state contracts in violation of regulations.
“We will report on them even if we drag those 14,000 to court by their hair and lock them up,” said Human, here.
Fighting graft and achieving savings have become even more necessary since two ratings companies downgraded the debt of Africa’s most-industrialised nation to junk.
Fraud and inflated prices from suppliers consumed as much as 40 per cent of the state’s 600 billion rand (RM194.216 billion) budget for goods and services, said Human’s predecessor, Kenneth Brown, last year.
Some people set up companies with fake documents or the identities of dead citizens and used these entities to tender for a project at higher prices, making their legitimate businesses seemed as if they were pitching for the same work at cheaper rates, said Human.
The unit’s investigations into some government projects have pitted it against some of the country’s most-powerful politicians. Last year, it criticised state-owned power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd for resisting efforts to review its coal-supply contracts with Tegeta Exploration & Resources Ltd.
Last year, Eskom paid Tegeta 659 million rand for coal before receiving it, which the power producer said it did to ensure supply.
“Competitive procurement processes were not followed, the contract management is weak, you are paying for substandard goods, and the issue of prepayment is unheard of,” said Human.
The report has yet to be officially released. Bloomberg
Fraud and inflated prices from suppliers consumed as much as 40 per cent of South Africa’s 600 billion rand budget for goods and services last year.