/ 21 February 2008

Financial misconduct in govt costs R130m

Financial misconduct in the 2006/07 financial year has cost the country more than R130-million, the Public Service Commission (PSC) announced on Thursday.

At a briefing held in Pretoria, the commission said that financial misconduct within national and provincial departments had risen from the previous year’s 771 cases reported by national and provincial departments to 1 042 cases.

The total loss stood at R130 615 994,82. National departments accounted for 370 cases and provincial departments reported 672 cases.

Departments reported several types of financial misconduct committed by workers and described this misconduct as ”any material losses through criminal conduct, unauthorised, irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure”.

Fraud comprised 59% of overall cases reported, while theft came in second at 13,1%.

Professor Stan Sangweni said the PSC report on financial misconduct was only released on Thursday morning, and the commission is yet to engage the 35 national departments as well as 107 provincial departments.

Regarding the indebtedness of public servants, the PSC found that 4 071 employees made payments to micro-lenders and 79 360 employees made garnishee-related payments (made when an employee is unable to honour or defaults on payments to debtors).

According to PSC commissioner Koko Mashigo, there are 1,2-million public-services employees in the country. The commission stressed that no names or identity numbers were revealed in the information provided to it.

The commission said that information provided to it by the Personnel and Salary Administration System showed that workers in the 40- to 49-year-old age bracket had paid R6,6-million to micro-lenders.

Sangweni recommended that information held by departments be continuously audited and that ethical frameworks be promoted. The PSC also said departments should keep up with levels of indebtedness by monitoring records of micro-lending and garnishee orders issued. — Sapa