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Mboweni still hasn’t ended 'emergency procurement' to stop Covid corruption

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Mboweni still hasn’t ended 'emergency procurement' to stop Covid corruption

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni
Photo by Donna Slater
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

19th August 2020

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Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, has still not cancelled “emergency procurement” allowances for Covid-19 procurement, as he committed to do two weeks ago.

National Treasury has also failed to meet its own deadline for a progress report to Parliament on action taken to stem Covdi-19 corruption.

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The Democratic Alliance (DA) will write to the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance, to call the Minister back to the Committee to explain this failure.

The President and Minister Mboweni have spoken often about their commitment to stop Covid corruption, but have dragged their feet on actually doing anything about it.

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During a briefing to the Committee on 5 August 2020, Mboweni and the Director-General of the National Treasury made a commitment that “emergency procurement” allowances would be ended for all Covid-19 procurement, and that they would report back to the committee in 10 days on:

  • Action to be taken against Directors General and accounting officers involved in misappropriation of Covid-19 funds.
  • Public release of details of all Covid-19 expenditure. The DA-governed Western Cape has already published these details.

This was 14 days ago, but Treasury has not done any of what it committed to. “Emergency procurement” has not been ended, and no progress report has been made or submitted to the Committee by Treasury. The Minister and DG should return to the Committee to provide reasons why they have not been able to meet their commitments.

Emergency procurement regulations have facilitated massive Covid-19 corruption involving senior ANC leaders and their families. It would take a simple Treasury instruction to end these allowances, and yet this instruction has not been issued, long after several Covid-19 corruption scandals have been exposed.

The Treasury website shows that only a handful of Provinces have submitted their PPE procurement data. Still, even for those who have submitted, there remain Provincial government departments and Provincial entities with outstanding information.

Despite widespread reports of corruption in PPE procurement, Treasury is yet to names those government entities and departments where there was flagrant abuse of emergency procurement process to award tenders to companies that did not meet Treasury Instruction specifications.

PPE procurement corruption has been a national embarrassment and Treasury’s failure to follow through on its commitment for transparency is a cause for concern. “Covidpreneurs” who took advantage of a national health crisis to enrich themselves through irregular access to tenders, must be brought to book and face the consequences of their corrupt behavior.

 

Issued by The DA

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