The affordable education loan option
Johannesburg - The North West finance department irregularly spent R15 million on legal services for the disciplinary enquiries of three officials, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said on Thursday.
“This effectively meant the department spent R5 million in respect of each of the three officials' disciplinary hearings,” Madonsela said in a statement.
She was releasing a report on her investigation into allegations of maladministration, abuse of power and irregular expenditure in the appointment of Morake Inc as a service provider for the department.
Madonsela handed the report to the North West Standing Committee on Public Accounts on Thursday.
She called for the recovery of all the funds unnecessarily spent by the department.
Madonsela said the amounts charged were unconscionable and that the services which resulted in the expenditure were not properly procured.
Madonsela said the procurement process was flawed, unlawful and in violation of the constitution and the National Treasury regulations.
“Morake Inc were initially procured for half-a-million (rand) for drafting the charges, thereafter their services were expanded,” she said.
“That was irregular. Morake Inc further double-charged the department on some of the invoices, particularly for travelling.”
Madonsela recommended that disciplinary action be taken against all the officials involved in the procurement process.
“The law society should check the billing by Morake Inc and check if this was consistent with professional requirements,” she said in her report.
If any money was overbilled it should be repaid, and if there was misconduct by the attorney in this regard it should be dealt with because it involved a junior attorney with four years' experience.”
Madonsela denounced the use of external service providers for administrative duties while the department had the capacity to carry out the work internally.
She referred allegations of a corrupt relationship between the former MEC Louisa Mabe and Morake Inc to the Hawks.