News24.com | Tender irregularities: Environment, forestry and fisheries dept suspends 8 officials

News24.com | Tender irregularities: Environment, forestry and fisheries dept suspends 8 officials
Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy.

Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy.

Jan Gerber, News24

  • The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has placed eight officials on precautionary suspension.
  • Tenders worth almost R1.3 billion were found to be awarded irregularly in the 2018-19 financial year.
  • The AG raised the alarm about the tenders during its audit of the department’s financial statements.

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has placed eight officials on precautionary suspension after tenders worth almost R1.3 billion were awarded irregularly.

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The suspension follows a forensic investigation into contracts alleged to have been irregularly awarded by the Waste Management Bureau, according to a statement by the department’s spokesperson, Albi Modise.  

Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy mandated former director-general Nosipho Ngcaba to institute an investigation after the Auditor-General (AG) identified several tenders awarded irregularly during its audit of the department’s financial statements for the year ending 31 March 2019.

It included nine tenders awarded by the Waste Management Bureau, with a total multi-year contract value of R2 105 168 218.93 and expenditure for the 2018-19 financial year amounting to R337 006 699.80.

The investigation had to determine whether:

  • any losses were suffered by the department;
  • the department received value for money;
  • any officials or third parties had committed any acts of fraud or corruption; and
  • any person can be held liable in law for the irregular expenditure.

An independent forensic investigation company conducted the investigation.

“With regard to six of the nine tenders, with a combined value of R1 282 850 820.61, the investigation found prima facie evidence illustrating irregular appointments arose as a result of negligence, misconduct and/or possible fraud and corruption by certain officials of the department,” reads the statement.

“The department is in the process of taking disciplinary steps in respect of misconduct identified in the report. All system recommendations outlined in the forensic investigation report will also be implemented in due course.”

The investigation found no evidence of misconduct by officials or loss suffered by the department in the three other tenders, which have a combined value of R822 317 398.32.

It was found the department received value for money and, subsequently, the department will seek condonation from National Treasury for the irregular expenditure incurred.

– Compiled by Jan Gerber

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