Correctional services incurs R1 billion in irregular expenditure

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Dec 1, 2020

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Parliamentarians heard on Tuesday the Department of Correctional Services incurred more than R1 billion in irregular expenditure in the 2019/20 financial year.

They were also told the department’s audit opinion remained qualified.

“The department was qualified on a similar issue in the prior year.

“The department also has findings reported in reliability and usefulness of performance information and compliance with key legislations,” said Yongama Madolo of the office of the auditor-general.

He told MPs fruitless and wasteful expenditure decreased from R3 million to R518 000 as a result of interest paid relating to late payments and travel cancellations.

Madolo also said irregular expenditure rose from R159m to R1.004bn.

This was blamed on splitting of order from the prior year, competitive bidding not followed, non-compliance with the SITA Act, three quotations not obtained and contract variation in excess of 20%.

He said the department did not have an adequate system for identifying and disclosing all irregular expenditure.

As a result, the AG's office could not confirm completeness of irregular expenditure disclosed in the financial statements.

Madolo also said there was a lack of accurate and complete records to support the percentage of overcrowding in correctional centres and remand detention facilities in excess of approved capacity.

The department had planned to create 183 beds during phase 3 of the Standerton project, but reported an achievement of 779 additional beds during phase 1 to phase 3, created over several years and not just the current year.

He said the five areas on non-compliance with legislation were centred on management of procurement and contracts and prevention of irregular expenditure.

There was also non-implementation of a system to monitor progress the the annual performance plan and performance management as well as consequence management.

"We were unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence that disciplinary steps were taken against officials who had incurred irregular expenditure as required by the Public Finance Management Act.

"This was due to proper and complete records that were not maintained as evidence to support the investigations into irregular expenditure," he said.

Political Bureau

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