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Limpopo - The Limpopo department of education is appalled at media reports quoting information “leaked” by the agencies investigating it.
“The Limpopo department of education is once again appalled by several articles in the weekend and weekly newspapers quoting 'leaked' reports from credible... agencies,” provincial spokesman Pat Kgomo said in a statement on Monday.
He singled out reports containing leaked information from Gobodo Forensic, Deloitte and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).
“The department holds these agencies in high esteem and (believes) that these agencies would not compromise their integrity in the society by 'leaking' confidential reports to the media,” he said.
“We believe that, if it is true that these reports have been leaked from their side, they will take drastic steps against individuals who continue to tarnish their credibility.”
He said the department appreciated the agencies' conduct in the other Limpopo departments which had been placed under administration.
“As the department, we would like to put it on record that we have not received any official reports from either one of the agencies,” he said.
“The department commits itself that at the point when they receive the official reports, it will act according to their recommendations without failure.”
The Star reported on Friday that the department paid service provider Aurecon JV R2 million a month more than what was originally tendered, six months before the department went bankrupt last year.
According to documents seen by the newspaper, the department also extended Aurecon JV's three-year contract by six months.
The Mail&Guardian reported that, according to a confidential affidavit by a Gobodo forensic auditor investigating on behalf of the Treasury, there was a “significant deviation” from the tender initially entered into with Aurecon JV.
It also reported on Friday that the SIU was investigating 22 department officials over irregularities in tenders worth hundreds of millions of rand.
A confidential SIU report leaked to the newspaper reportedly showed that the R680 million contract awarded to politically connected company EduSolutions for textbooks, educational toys, science kits and other material for the 2011 school year was one of those under scrutiny.
The Star reported on June 29 that the department had also spent millions on accommodation for employees who never attended workshops.
The information, compiled by forensic auditing firms Gobodo and Deloitte, also claimed that the department had approved payments that included “fraudulent claims for discounts” by EduSolutions.
The Democratic Alliance said on Monday the office of Public Protector had confirmed that its investigation into tender irregularities between EduSolutions and the department last year were at a “advanced” stage.
“Millions of Limpopo's public money has been wasted because of acute financial mismanagement and tender-for-pals in this department. This has effectively denied our learners their right to education as seen in the current Limpopo textbook crisis,” provincial DA education spokeswoman Desiree van der Walt said.
“The DA is keenly waiting for the Public Protector's final report and if any wrong doing is found against any official of the department, we will be calling for criminal charges to be initiated.”
The Public Protector's office was not immediately available to comment on its investigation. - Sapa