Covid-19 relief: AG finds clear signs of tender irregularities

Covid-19 relief: AG finds clear signs of tender irregularities

- The Auditor-General has released findings on Covid-19 PPE procurement contracts with the government during the crisis

- Makwetu explained that there are clear signs of misconduct, including inflated prices, unfair processes and even potential fraud

- The AG says that he will 'converge' the report with that of the Special Investigating Unit to ensure those responsible are held to account

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Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu has released his findings on Covid-19 relief funding and the details that have emerged paint a picture of the rot in the government's procurement of personal protective equipment during the pandemic.

Makwetu hosted a briefing on Wednesday and explained how contracts allocated under the R22.4 billion budget for PPE had been misappropriated. There were clear signs of overpricing, unfair processes and even potential fraud in government procurement of these critical items in the response to the virus.

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The existing flaws in the way government procured goods and services was amplified by the introduction of emergency processes for PPE, explained Makwetu.

"Based on what was audited to date, there are clear signs of overpricing, unfair processes, potential fraud and supply chain management legislation being sidestepped. In addition, delays in the delivery of PPE and quality concerns could have been avoided through better planning and management of suppliers."

Makwetu confirmed that investigations had found a number of irregularities. Image: GovernmentZA/ Flickr
Source: UGC

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Out of the allocated R22.4 billion, only R6.7 billion was noted as actual expenditure, with the AG commenting that the Special Investigating Unit's own probe would be comparable to his findings:

"We think that there is some level of convergence between the full extent of the amount the SIU is chasing versus the things we have seen as we were doing our analysis."

The investigation found issues across the health and education sectors which warranted closer investigation, including conflict of interest, inadequate specifications and competitive bidding not being applied.

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Earlier, reported that David Makhura had called for corrupt officials in his province to face jail time.

The Gauteng Premier had been responding to mounting allegations of Covid-19 graft in the region, which is believed to be the hardest hit in this regard. Makhura signalled the need for officials to be dedicated to the public they serve, not business interests:

"We want people who are public officials. Those who are in business must be held accountable. This doesn't seem like something that just happened. It's like there was a proper plan designed to ensure that rules are not followed."

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