PRETORIA, South Africa’s Public Works Department has lost more than two billion Rand (about 148 million US dollars) to fraud and corruption as a result of 16,000 suspicious transactions uncovered during an investigation by the government’s Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

These revelations were made during a joint media briefing by Public Wworks Minister Thulas Nxesi and SIU Head Andy Mothibi in Pretoria Thursday.

Minister Nxesi described his department as a “Department of Tenders”, which included two billions Rand of tax-payers’ money lost. The looting took place between 2013 and 2016.

Hundreds of jobs for cronies were also created in the department, said Nxes.

Following an internal investigation which pointed to 16,000 suspicious transactions to the 2.0 billion Rand, I also found that 684 appointments had been pushed through in four months, the result of which is to blow the compensation budget on largely non-essential posts.

The SIU also found a high number of cases of conflict of interest within the Public Works Department.

The Department says it hopes to recover 1.2 billion Rand through litigation, and undoing many signed contracts and prosecuting those who are involved.

Nxesi said: I remain optimistic — mainly because of the new political climate, the leadership of President Ramaphosa who is committed to fight fraud and corruption and dealing with state capture — and I repeat, this fight is not a single event, it’s a process that requires meticulous investigations by the SIU.

Nxesi has also instituted lifestyle audits for all the management at the department.

Source: NAM News Network

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