Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has revealed that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is investigating possible fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to R47million paid in curator fees by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).

Lamola revealed this in a recent written response to a parliamentary question posed by DA MP Werner Horn. Horn asked whether any amounts of the wasteful expenditure identified by the department had been recovered from officials implicated.

This comes after Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu found that no effective and appropriate steps had been taken in the past two years to curb fruitless use of money at the state institution.

In his written response, Lamola said about 2000 cases involving around R13m were reported in the 2017/18 financial year.

“The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has resolved 2110 cases to the value of R11.1m, in that some of the amounts were recovered, while in other cases it was determined after an investigation that it was not due to the fault of the official; for example, such as a change in (a particular) programme outside of the control of the official,” he said.

Lamola said among other things, the fruitless and wasteful expenditure register included storage fees for the Mpumalanga High Court building.

He pointed out, however, that these should be resolved during this financial year and that no-show ­penalties valued at R845000 were also still to be sorted out.

According to the minister, the NPA had also reported fruitless expenditure cases involving curator fees and instances of cancelled bookings relating to transport and accommodation for official purposes.

Lamola said the curator fees paid by the Asset Forfeiture Unit to the tune of R47m were still under investigation by the NPA.

He pointed out that there were 12 cases involving officials implicated in cancelled bookings that the NPA was busy probing.

“R12842.20 is currently in the process of being recovered from nine officials,” Lamola said.

He was referring to the cancelled bookings, which amounted to a total of R17486.29 in all.

Political Bureau