Themba Godi Photo: ANA
Themba Godi Photo: ANA

Procurement officials in Scopa's sights

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Jan 21, 2018

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The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) is cracking down on corruption by demanding that state-owned entities (SOEs) and departments should present a list of vetted officials who work in procurement when they come to Parliament.

Scopa chairperson Themba Godi said on Saturday the fact some of the officials who presided over tenders worth billions of rand were not vetted in line with a cabinet decision was a serious problem.

Godi said from the beginning of this year they would now demand that departments and SOEs who come to Parliament must give them a list of vetted officials to minimise corruption.

The government is sitting on a R500 billion procurement budget a year and Scopa wants to clamp down on corruption in this area.

Godi said following their meeting with the State Security Agency (SSA) last year the agency agreed it would speed up the vetting process of all officials in government.

Department of State Security director-general Arthur Fraser had told Scopa they were busy finalising regulations that would allow them to penalise officials who refuse to be vetted.

When they appeared before the committee last year, Transnet revealed that out of 750 officials in procurement only 56 had been vetted in line with the cabinet decision of 2014.

In other departments and SOEs the picture is not clear and Scopa wants the reports on the vetted officials to fight corruption.

Godi said SSA must speed up the regulations so that they could start vetting officials in procurement.

“SSA agreed that they could have done better on the matter. They are busy finalising regulations that will tighten and speed up the process. The regulations they are putting in place will be compulsory and any person refusing to be vetted will be penalised,” said Godi.

“Currently the process is cumbersome and they need to make it simpler and faster. From now on when we engage with any department or entity those who are in procurement will be vetted. That is going to be a standard procedure. It will tell us if the people we are dealing with in procurement can be trusted,” said Godi.

He added this process would help in the fight against corruption. Scopa has said most of the corruption in government and SOEs happened in procurement.

Treasury told the committee and other finance committees in Parliament there was deviation of R74bn in departments and SOEs last year.

Weekend Argus

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