Naming fraudsters deterrent to others

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CAPE ARGUS

"I want to commend the Department of Agriculture for publicising those guilty officials, it is a great deterrent," ANC MPL Max Ozinsky said. Photo: Tracey Adams

Cape Town -

Naming and shaming civil servants guilty of fraud, corruption or theft is a “great deterrent” to keep other state officials from doing the same, ANC MPL Max Ozinsky said on Monday.

Ozinsky was reacting to a briefing on Monday to the Western Cape Provincial Legislature’s standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) on the number of cases of alleged fraud, corruption and theft reported in the province between April and December.

Officials from the Department of Agriculture told Scopa that they published reports of any misconduct in their internal newsletter.

“I want to commend the Department of Agriculture for publicising those guilty officials, it is a great deterrent,” he said.

Altogether 126 new cases of alleged fraud, corruption and theft were reported to the Western Cape Provincial Government’s Forensic Investigative Unit (FIU) to investigate in nine months last year. This was added to 179 cases the unit was already busy investigating, said Henriette Robson, deputy director-general of corporate assurance.

The unit finalised 146 investigations in the nine months and referred 74 cases back to departments to look at because the allegations didn’t fall within its scope to investigate. The unit only investigates allegations of fraud, corruption and theft.

More than two thirds of the new cases were referred to the unit by provincial departments and the National Anti-Corruption Hotline and 23 cases were reported by whistle-blowers. Cases of nepotism were also reported in five departments.

Robson said the unit finalised 146 investigations in the nine months - of those it found 37 cases of fraud and corruption and one of theft.

Thirty-four new cases were reported to the police between April and December for further investigation.

The police also has 88 other cases from the unit which it was still investigating from before April.

Robson said bigger cases were reported to the Commercial Crimes Unit while the smaller cases were reported at local police stations.

The unit also hand over reports to departments and recommends certain steps against civil servants found guilty of misconduct.

“We can only investigate, it is heads of departments who must act,” Robson said.

Among the steps departments took were: final warnings to 22 employees, dismissals of four employees, and written or verbal warnings to 24. Six resigned or retired before departments could take steps.

Scopa chairman Grant Haskin, ACDP MPL, said the committee members were pleased with the unit’s performance. He was, however, concerned about skills transfer between staff members and the contractor, Deloitte and Touche.

Ozinsky said the contract would end on November 30.

“That is very soon. We must be reassured that skills will be transferred,” he said.

DA MPL Mark Wiley said there had been a “good improvement” in the volume of investigations the unit was dealing with.

cobus.coetzee@inl.co.za

Cape Times


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