Lifestyle audits will be implemented on government officials accused of wrongdoing
Johannesburg - Lifestyle audits will be implemented on government officials accused of wrongdoing to fight malfeasance in the state apparatus.
This is according to a circular from the Department of Public Service and Administration that was issued on April 1.
The lifestyle audits will include the amalgamation of reports from a variety of databases in order to understand the financial profile of a person, regarding legitimate declared income against known and observed assets.
Lifestyle audits will also include identifying whether a person’s expenditures exceed his or her income.
An investigation to establish through legally sound methods, an independent corroboration of information and the collection of evidence so as to assist in identifying will determine whether the income comes from undeclared sources of income, proves a person is living beyond his or her means.
It will also go after an individual’s debt, assets, income, criminal records, trusts, hidden assets and undeclared income.
”Were required an objective evaluation of a person’s standard of living to express an opinion derived by applying audit sampling methods as governed by legislation and complying with audit standards on whether that person,” read the circular.
According to the government, fraud and corruption among its employees will always be problematic, counter-productive and devastating.
”Although government introduced and continues to add various forms of controls, the persistence of criminals continuously challenges these controls for self-enrichment. To prevent and detect fraud and corruption in the public service, lifestyle audits are a critical and legitimate management tool,” the document stated.
Government believes that fraud and corruption is usually committed by means of “off book” transactions, typically the acceptance of a bribe, or by manipulating records, especially those involving tenders and procurement.
“To prevent and detect fraud and corruption in the public service, lifestyle audits are a critical and legitimate management tool and forms part of a department’s system of risk management,” it said.
The lifestyle investigation will help obtain legally sound evidence for unexplained wealth by identifying undeclared sources of income, movement records, credit searches, debt, assets, income, verified fixed and moveable assets, criminal records, trusts, hidden assets and undeclared income.
The police and the Department of Home Affairs will be able to acquire the person’s identity.
The police believe this will assist in investigations where corruption is detected, such as collusion regarding tenders, falsification of documents or signatures.
National and provincial departments (including ethics officers, risk committees), law enforcement agencies, educators will also be subjected to lifestyle audits.