DWS concludes 42 investigations into financial irregularities

Johannesburg – The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the Department of Water and Sanitation’s Forensic Audit Unit have concluded 42 investigations into the department’s financial irregularities amounting to R3 billion during the 2019/2020 financial year.

The SIU and Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) investigated an amount of R3 119 914 964. 85 during the 2019/20 financial year, which included pro-active work performed by the Internal Audit Unit to prevent irregular expenditure to the amount of R1 360 000 000, and an amount of R250 million during the 2020/2021 financial year.

As part of the department’s proactive fraud prevention measures, the Directorate: Forensic Audit and Quality Assurance held 22 fraud awareness sessions in various directorates within the DWS and 900 officials were in attendance.

“Certain cases that were investigated resulted in 21 criminal cases being opened with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the investigation of such cases in still in progress. Regular interaction between law enforcement agencies is taking place,” the department said.

The SIU Proclamation No R54 of 2012 into various allegations at DWS followed the investigation work and the subsequent internal reports performed by the Forensic Audit Unit of the department, which assisted with the motivation for the proclamation and the identification of matters to be investigated.

The department said it initiated an investigation into the irregular appointment of AECOM SA. Following the completion of the internal investigation, the department requested the SIU to perform a further investigation on the matter.

“The SIU was able to use the internal report to apply for and obtain proclamation number R28 of 2019: WP0485 – WTE – Goudertrouw and started their investigation. The department has been working together with the SIU on this matter,” the department said.

With regard to the SAP (German software firm) matter, the department started its own internal investigation relating to the irregular appointment of SAP, which discovered serious administrative irregularities.

“While the department’s investigation was underway, the SIU obtained proclamation No R27 of 2018 and R44 of 2019: The awarding of a contract by the DWS to SAP (SA) to investigate the same matter that the department was investigating. Department investigators shared documents and information with SIU investigators.

“After the completion of the internal report, the department started a process of judicial review of the contract. After a meeting with the SIU, it was decided that there should be a joint litigation. The two entities are working closely together on this matter,” the department explained.

The department has also requested the SIU to extend the scope of the investigation to investigate the alleged irregular appointment of EOH Holdings (South Africa’s largest technology group), which proclamation is in the process of being applied for by the SIU.

“The SIU and the DWS have a strong working relationship, in which the department assurance providers and SIU investigators meet on a monthly basis. Furthermore, during these meetings,  the department informs the SIU of progress on the matters that had been referred to the department for disciplinary action.

“The department has concluded investigations into irregularities relating to various projects, including the War on Leaks, Vaal Intervention and Drop a Block.

“The DWS has shared these reports with the SIU, which has assisted in the motivation for a proclamation to investigate these matters,” the department said.

Sunday World 

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