Op­er­a­tion Clean Au­dit: Scopa hears Di­rec­tors Gen­eral are not re­port­ing cor­rup­tion

African Times - - Politics -

THE head of the Com­mer­cial Crimes in the Di­rec­torate for Pri­or­ity In­ves­ti­ga­tions, Ma­jor-Gen­eral Al­fred Khana, made a star­tling reve­la­tion to Scopa on Tues­day that most cases of sus­pected govern­ment cor­rup­tion were not re­ported to the Hawks by Di­rec­tors Gen­eral of af­fected de­part­ments but by whis­tle-blow­ers and of­fi­cials at lower lev­els.

While the DPCI’s am­bi­tious “Op­er­a­tion Clean Au­dit Na­tional Govern­ment De­part­ments and SoE’s and MoE’s” might have been rolled out in 2009 in North West Prov­ince and “im­ple­mented sys­tem­at­i­cally in all other prov­inces” since then, ev­i­dence of its spec­tac­u­lar fail­ure is the ir­reg­u­lar ex­pen­di­ture by govern­ment de­part­ments of some R46-bil­lion flagged by the Au­di­tor Gen­eral for the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year alone.

On Tues­day DPCI head, Ma­jorGen­eral Yolisa Matakata, and head of the DPCI’s Com­mer­cial Crimes Ma­jorGen­eral, Al­fred Khana, pre­sented to Scopa a progress re­port about the case load, court cases, in­ves­ti­ga­tions and mat­ters be­fore the Se­nior Public Pros­e­cu­tor for a de­ci­sion.

Con­sid­er­ing that SoEs have been the cen­tre of the uni­verse for the en­demic project of cor­rup­tion that has come to be known as State Cap­ture in South Africa, Scopa members were not im­pressed with the lack of de­tail with re­gard so cur­rent cases in the DPCI pre­sen­ta­tion.

What did emerge is that the prov­ince that had been blighted with the great­est num­ber of se­ri­ous economic crimes was KwaZu­luNatal with six cases in jus­tice, two in SARS, two in ru­ral de­vel­op­ment, six in health, nine in home af­fairs, four in hu­man set­tle­ments, 10 in public works, 14 in trans­port, two in SAPS, two in ru­ral de­vel­op­ment, a whop­ping 43 in ed­u­ca­tion, two in labour, three in land af­fairs, one in so­cial se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment, one in wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, seven in agri­cul­ture, one in cor­rec­tional ser­vices, one in the depart­ment of leg­is­la­ture, two in GOGTA, one in trade and in­dus­try and 12 in the depart­ment of lo­cal govern­ment.

Khana, sketch­ing the na­tional pic­ture in re­la­tion to the feed­ing troughs of SoEs told Scopa that there were 78 cases “on hand”, 14 of which had made it to court, 50 that were still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion and 14 that were with the SPP.

With re­gard to Provin­cial SoEs, Sassa was re­spon­si­ble for 23 cases in the Eastern Cape, two of which had made it to court, while 15 cases were be­ing in­ves­ti­gated and six were with the SPP.

In the Free State there were five cases against Sassa, three of which had made it to court while in KZN four Sassa cases had been re­ported, one hav­ing made it to court with two still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

One of the key fo­cus ar­eas with re­gard to govern­ment and lo­cal govern­ment cor­rup­tion and a fea­ture of “Op­er­a­tion Clean Au­dit” was, said the DPCI, “to con­trib­ute and to en­sure that by 2019, 120 per­sons are con­victed for cor­rup­tion” and also “to con­trib­ute and en­sure that by 2019, 1000 public of­fi­cials are con­victed for cor­rup­tion or of­fenses re­lated to cor­rup­tion”.

While Tues­day’s pre­sen­ta­tion by Matakata and Khana might have been big on pie charts and pyra­mids, it was short on de­tail such as names, val­ues and the num­ber of cases presently be­ing in­ves­ti­gated. Scopa chair Temba Godi re­quested the DPCI to pro­vide a de­tailed list at its next pre­sen­ta­tion.

“Vis­i­ble ac­tion should be taken against those who con­spire to use public funds. It send the message out there that you can run but you can’t hide,” said Godi. 26

Khana pre­sented a power-point to com­mit­tee members out­lin­ing that na­tion­ally there were 30 “cases on hand”, three of which had made it to court, 26 of which were still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, while one was with the SPP.”The Estina/Vrede case was one of the three that had made it to court.

Na­tion­ally the Depart­ment of Health was re­spon­si­ble for the “bulk” (in terms of mon­e­tary value) of se­ri­ous economic of­fences clock­ing in at the grand to­tal of four.

Health was fol­lowed by the Depart­ment of So­cial De­vel­op­ment with one case, the Depart­ment of Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment with three cases, the Depart­ment of Home Af­fairs with one case and the Depart­ment of Trans­port with two, SAPS with six, the Depart­ment of Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment with one, Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion with four, Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices with one, Min­eral Re­sources with three, Cul­tural Af­fairs and Sport with three.

Asked by com­mit­tee members why some cases took so long to come to court Khana replied “there are lots of cases ly­ing with pros­e­cu­tors for long pe­ri­ods. I have per­son­ally taken that up”.

Matakata said while the DPCI did not have chal­lenges with fund­ing it did have prob­lems with re­gard to the re­ten­tion of staff.

“We have a loss of members. The DPCI re­quires spe­cialised skills. We have lost a lot of members over the years and our prob­lem is we could not ad­ver­tise for a struc­ture that was not ap­proved. That struc­ture was only ap­proved in Fe­bru­ary last year. Also there are other labour chal­lenges with labour or­gan­i­sa­tions.”

(Matakata is re­fer­ring here to the il­le­gal ap­point­ment of Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Bern­ing Ntle­meza which was later over­turned by the courts.)

Asked why the DPCI was haem­or­rhag­ing staff Matakata said: “Members are get­ting greener pas­tures in the pri­vate sec­tor, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and lo­cal govern­ment are of­fer­ing them bet­ter pack­ages. Some of them have re­tired but we have lost the bulk of members to the pri­vate sec­tor.”

Khana alarm­ingly told the com­mit­tee that some of the cor­rup­tion and se­ri­ous economic crime cases were dealt with “in­ter­nally”, a process to which“we are not privy”.

He also stated that the bulk of bases re­ported to the DPCI were from lower rank­ing of­fi­cials and whistle­blow­ers and not Di­rec­tors Gen­eral.

This would sug­gest that th­ese Di­rec­tors Gen­eral, as ac­count­ing of­fi­cers are flout­ing the Public Fi­nance Man­age­ment Act with ap­par­ent im­punity and with­out fear of reper­cus­sion. 2

He said that de­part­ments also often con­tracted pri­vate in­ves­ti­ga­tions into cor­rup­tion and that th­ese in­ves­ti­ga­tions often pre­sented “find­ings and opin­ions” not based on facts or in­ter­views with those im­pli­cated. 1

Khana’s com­ment would seem to mir­ror events that took place at SARS and the four in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the al­leged “rogue unit” the most con­tro­ver­sial of which was con­ducted by KMPG. KMPG later pub­licly with­drew the find­ings and rec­om­men­da­tions of the “SARS Re­port”as well as paid back the R23-mil­lion it had cost South African tax­pay­ers. 11

The Com­mer­cial Crimes head said some de­part­ments would tell Par­lia­ment that they had re­ported al­leged cor­rup­tion to the DPCI when in fact they had only pro­vided a flimsy, often three-page “sec­tion 34 re­port” that “says noth­ing”. This was done, said Khana, in or­der to com­ply with the most ba­sic statu­tory re­quire­ments. “In fact, we should charge th­ese peo­ple with an abuse of process. It is part of the prob­lem. It pro­longs the process of get­ting in­for­ma­tion from the com­plainant.”

Asked whether the NPA was hin­der­ing DPCI in­ves­ti­ga­tions, Matakata would not be drawn say­ing only that there were some cases that have been with the NPA for over a year.

Khana said the Com­mer­cial Crimes unit did use con­sul­tants and ac­coun­tants for those cases where it needed a cash flow anal­y­sis to be done and that th­ese ser­vice providers were ap­pointed through the nor­mal sup­ply chain man­age­ment process.

Godi asked Matakata and Khana to pro­vide a de­tailed list, within two weeks, to Scopa “so we can see how fast or how slow you are mov­ing”. He also asked for the names cat­e­gories of public of­fi­cials who had been charged and con­victed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.