Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu. Picture: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS

Cape Town - The flouting of supply chain systems - including failure by officials to disclose a conflict of interest - in the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, has seen its irregular expenditure increase by more than R90 million within two financial years.

This was revealed by Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu in his report contained in the department’s annual report tabled in Parliament recently.

“Effective and appropriate steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure amounting to R105.6m,” Makwetu said, adding that the department had recorded R6.2m of irregular expenditure in the 2017-18 financial year.

“The majority of irregular expenditure disclosed in the financial statements resulted from non-compliance with supply chain management,” he said.

Makwetu also said invitations for competitive bids were not advertised for the time required by treasury regulations.

“In some instances, persons in the service of the department who had a private or business interest in contracts awarded by the department failed to disclose such interests.

“And in some instances persons in the service of the department whose close family members, partners or associates had a private or business interest in contracts awarded by the department failed to disclose such interests,” he said.

The auditor-general explained that the department incurred fruitless and wasteful expenditure and did not pay service providers within 30 days of receipt of invoices.

This came against the backdrop of the department’s forensic investigation directorate probing 46 cases that included allegations of corruption, financial mismanagement, fraud and procurement irregularities.

“As at March 31 this year, the department’s forensic investigation directorate had concluded 38 investigations,” Makwetu said.

Acting director-general Rendani Sadiki said cautionary letters had been sent and disciplinary action was under way for officials found negligent in incurring irregular and fruitless expenditure. “The department remains committed to eradicating non-compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it,” she said.

Political Bureau