PayBackTheMoney: GOOD welcomes measures to prosecute companies and individuals implicated in state looting
Statement by Mark Rountree, National Policy Officer for GOOD
9 July 2020
GOOD’s National Policy Officer, Mark Rountree, has welcomed the remedial actions being implemented by its leader, Patricia de Lille, the new Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, to recover millions lost through inflated costs of state funerals in 2018.
“GOOD’s promise to the public was that we would work to restore stability and confidence in government; stop corruption and wasteful spending; and ensure corrupt people are prosecuted” said Rountree. “We are proud that GOOD’s leader is delivering on that promise.”
In her report back to SCOPA last night, De Lille briefed the committee on the progress of corrective measures arising from a PwC investigation into reported inflated costs of funeral services. The costs of 3 state funerals, including that of struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and ANC struggle stalwarts, Zola Skweyiya and Billy Modise, had soared to almost R80 milllion.
PwC reportedly concluded their report on investigations in March 2019, 3 months before De Lille accepted the role as Minister, but no action had been taken against those implicated.
De Lille confirmed that a criminal case has now been opened with the police against the service provider, Crocia Events, for its role in defrauding the state. The company allegedly submitted inflated invoices and billed for goods that the department had not requisitioned.
Public Works Chief Director Mzwandile Sazona explained that in 2017, the year before the funerals, the Presidency revised the policy on state funerals. In the same year, Sazona said that service provider, Crocia Events, had reportedly secured a two-year tender to provide infrastructure for all state funerals.
De Lille confirmed they are also busy preparing charges against several government officials for signing off on the irregular invoices, among other breaches. Although the Covid19 pandemic has delayed some engagements with state attorneys, they expect that legal advice on these matters will be concluded this month.
In addition to the laid and pending criminal charges, De Lille’s Department has also implemented several remedial actions to prevent future losses, such as a quote system for services which has already reduced costs tremendously, they reported.
These and the department’s several other new measures will save taxpayers money and recover funds.