PSC: Govt loses R45m to financial misconduct

More than R45,6-million was lost by national and provincial government departments due to financial misconduct in the 2005/06 financial year, the Public Service Commission (PSC) said on Tuesday.

Releasing the commission’s report on financial misconduct in government departments, PSC chairperson Stan Sangweni said there were 771 reported cases of financial misconduct.

This was more than the 513 cases of the previous financial year, but the amount lost came down from R331-million in 2002/03.

Of the R45,6-million lost, only R3,2-million was recovered, with many departments reporting they were still in the process of recovering money.

Sangweni said the figure of money lost might even be higher as not all government departments reporting to it had disclosed the amounts related to financial misconduct cases.

Cases involving fraud and theft made up 64,7% of the cases reported. Corruption, irregular expenditure, gross negligence and misappropriation were also reported.

The Land Affairs Department lost R20-million through financial misconduct while the Treasury lost only R154,84, which was recovered.

The Eastern Cape was the province with the highest number (173) of reported cases of misconduct, followed by the Western Cape with 75.

Provincial departments in Gauteng reported only six cases of misconduct.

The report covers financial misconduct cases reported to the PSC covering 34 national departments and 105 provincial departments.

Only the Gauteng department of education failed to report. However, the PSC said most departments still needed to improve their reporting.

”Most departments do not comply with the prescripts and must on a continuous basis be reminded to report to the PSC. Furthermore, some departments seem indifferent to accurate reporting or lack the capacity to pay proper attention to accurate reporting,” Sangweni said.

The commission plans to force departments to submit reports every month and to summon the accounting officers of those failing to do so.

PSC director general Odette Ramsingh said the commission was worried that although departments did act internally against those found guilty of financial misconduct, the majority of cases were not reported to police.

Criminal proceedings were instituted in only 25% or 198 of the cases.

She said the Corruption Act only compelled an accounting officer to report cases if the amount exceeded R100 000.

She said this amount was too high and the commission was planning to ask for the ”tightening of legislation” on this aspect.

The report would be tabled in Parliament soon. — Sapa

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