Nearly 200 health officials fail to disclose conflicts of interest
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Nearly 200 officials in the Health Department are in hot water after they failed to disclose conflict of interest.
Director-general in the department Sandile Buthelezi revealed this in the 2020/21 annual report tabled in Parliament recently.
This was before he was suspended for his alleged role in the Digital Vibes saga.
Buthelezi was suspended with six other officials.
In his report, Buthelezi said the beleaguered department adopted the code of conduct that was prescribed by the Department of Public Service and Administration for minimising conflicts of interest.
The code requires senior managers and other stakeholders to disclose any conflict of interest inherent in doing business with the department.
Buthelezi said all those who participated in bid evaluation committees completed the disclosure forms.
He, however, said only 120 of 122 senior managers completed the online eDisclosure system of the Department of Public Service and Administration and the names of two senior managers were submitted to labour relations for disciplinary purposes.
“Furthermore, 181 of 411 deputy directors (Level 11 and 12) and personnel in SMC, finance, offices of the director-general and minister completed their financial interest disclosures through online eDisclosure system.”
Buthelezi also said the eDisclosure system has been re-opened to enable outstanding disclosures for these categories of staff to be done.
“Disciplinary action will be taken against those who did not disclose their financial interest as prescribed by Public Service Regulations of 2016,” he said.
Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke found that the department did not take effective and appropriate steps to prevent irregular expenditure.
Maluleke said the value as disclosed in the financial statements was not complete as management was still in the process of quantifying the full extent of the irregular expenditure.
“The majority of the irregular expenditure disclosed in the financial statements was caused by contravention of procurement processes,” she said.
Maluleke found that some of the contracts were awarded to suppliers that were not tax compliant with Sars or bidders did not submit a declaration on whether they are employed by the state or connected to any person employed by the state.
“Some of the goods and services of a transaction value above R500 000 were procured without inviting competitive bids, or deviations were approved by the accounting officer but it was practical to invite competitive bids.”
There were also persons in service of the department who had a private or business interest in contracts awarded by the department failing to disclose such interest.
“Similar non-compliance was reported in the previous year and disciplinary action was taken against some of the officials involved.”
Maluleke also said she was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence that disciplinary steps were taken against officials who had incurred irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
“This was because investigations into irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure were not performed,” she added.
Maluleke noted with concern that the department’s leadership did not exercise oversight responsibility regarding financial and performance reporting and compliance, as well as related internal controls.
“This resulted in material misstatements and material findings reported in the audit report.”
She found that management did not implement proper record keeping in a timely manner to ensure that complete, relevant and accurate information was accessible and available to support financial and performance reporting.
“Management did not implement controls over daily and monthly processing and reconciling of transactions to ensure accurate and complete financial reporting.
“Management did not always monitor supply chain management and contract management processes to ensure compliance with laws and regulation.”