16 November 2012

South Africa: Gauteng to Verify All Employees in Provincial Government

Pretoria — Gauteng is taking several steps to address fraud and corruption, including plans to verify all employees of the provincial government to ensure that salaries are paid to authentic employees, says Gauteng Finance MEC Mandla Nkomfe.

"In the next few weeks, the Gauteng Provincial Treasury will embark on a process to verify all employees of the provincial government to ensure that salaries are paid to authentic employees.

"This process will enable us to maintain the accuracy of the payroll system, match bank account details with authentic officials and detect and prevent any fraudulent transactions," explained the MEC on Friday.

The implementation of this project will start with the Gauteng Provincial Treasury, followed by the Gauteng Department of Finance and then the Gauteng Department of Health, before it is rolled out to other provincial departments.

Speaking at the first Gauteng International Fraud Awareness Seminar, Nkomfe said international research had proven that fraud was prevalent both in the public and private sector and that organisations around the world lost an estimated 5% of their annual revenue to fraud.

In June, the provincial government announced that the process of procuring goods and services was being tightened due to fraud manifesting in supply chain management processes.

A vetting process, with the help of the State Security Agency, had been implemented with officials in departments such as Community Safety, the Office of the Premier and the Department of Economic Development being already having been vetted.

Nkomfe said that in the first six months of this financial year, the province received a total 42 cases of alleged fraud and corruption through the National Anti-Corruption Hotline.

Thirty of these cases were reported in the second quarter. These cases ranged from corruption, fraud, procurement irregularities, misappropriation of funds, unethical behaviour, reckless driving, appointment irregularities and theft.

"In an effort to eliminate the backlog and increase the rate of case resolution in the province, 70 officials are undergoing advanced investigation training. This is intended to, amongst others, provide the principles of forensic investigation and establish in-depth knowledge of specific investigation techniques and methods.

"We want to see action be taken against those who will be found guilty, even if people need to be criminally charged and prosecuted," said Nkomfe, adding that this would send a strong message that fraud and corruption will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

"As we have said before, we must be aggressive and go after those who operate with impunity and pillage the resources of the state," said the MEC.

The seminar forms part of International Fraud Awareness Week, which is the initiative of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners that runs from the 12 - 17 November.

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