Swaziland: Corruption Rife Among Security Firms Servicing Swaziland Government and Public Enterprises

King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Eswatini (file photo).

More than half of the companies providing security services to government ministries and public enterprises in Swaziland / Eswatini have been found to be corrupt and engaged in fraudulent activities, according to an official report.

They have forged or obtained through corruption certificates falsely stating they comply with the kingdom's labour laws. Corruption is said to be rife.

This was revealed by the Swaziland Public Procurement Agency (SPPRA) in a study of the kingdom's private security industry. The industry is marred by serious irregularities, and lack of regulation.

SPPRA said four of 12 tenders issued by parastatals in one month were for the provision of security services, an industry whose operations have been found to be marred by serious irregularities, including the lack of regulation.

Private security companies were also found to be involved in illegal behaviour such as under-pricing, early termination of contracts and overpricing its tenders to clients.

The Swazi Observer newspaper reported on Monday (30 July 2018) some security companies were found in possession of authentic documents such as those issued by the Swaziland National Provident Fund, labour compliance certificates and others, despite these companies 'glaringly not being compliant with the law'.

Corruption is believed to be widespread in Swaziland where King Mswati III rules as sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch. In December 2017, Swaziland's Anti-Corruption Commission issued a report suggesting that 79 percent of 3,090 people interviewed in a survey believed that corruption within government was 'rife'.

The survey suggested that corruption was perceived to take place mostly in rural councils. The perceived major causes of corruption were poverty (58 percent), unemployment (54 percent) and greed (41 percent). The survey was conducted by the Swazi Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs through the ACC.

In June 2017, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) reported the kingdom, was riddled with corruption in both private and public places.

It said, 'The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.'

It added, 'For a long time the police, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade as well as the Department of Customs and Excise have often been implicated in corrupt practices.'

It gave many examples including the case of the government propaganda organisation Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Service (SBIS) where E 1.6 million was paid to service providers for the maintenance of a machine that was neither broken nor in use. The officer who authorised the bogus job cards has since been promoted and transferred to another government department.

The report called The effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies in Southern Africa stated, 'This type of behaviour is common albeit covert and therefore difficult to monitor as goods and services are undersupplied or rerouted for personal use. The results of grand corruption are there for all to see in the ever increasing wealth of high-level civil servants and officers of state.'

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