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Fraudsters convicted as SITA cleans up corruption

Read time 3min 30sec
Civil action is taken against perpetrators to recover losses sustained through fraud and corruption.
Civil action is taken against perpetrators to recover losses sustained through fraud and corruption.

The State Information Technology Agency’s (SITA’s) clean-up exercise is progressing well, with some officials being convicted of graft.

This is according to Ntutule Tshenye, acting SITA CEO, who presented the agency’s state of affairs to the Portfolio Committee on Communication last week.

Over the years, SITA gained a reputation as the embattled government IT procurement arm; the result of corruption claims and irregular procurement practices levelled against it.

In December 2017, former SITA CEO Setumo Mohapi told ITWeb the agency had initiated an exercise to root out corruption at the organisation.

In his presentation, Tshenye said in line with the public service anti-corruption strategy, SITA has established a system to encourage and allow employees and citizens to report allegations of corruption and other crimes of dishonesty committed against the organisation.

In this respect, he noted, an independently operated ethics line was established over 10 years ago, where employees and other parties can anonymously report allegations of unethical conduct at all levels within the organisation.

To maintain confidentiality of reporting and anonymity of whistle-blowers, the ethics line is operated by an external service provider accredited with the Ethics Institute of South Africa.

According to Tshenye, all calls are fully investigated and where warranted, internal disciplinary action is instituted against perpetrators as well as being reported to the relevant authorities.

“In addition, where appropriate, civil action is taken against perpetrators to recover any losses sustained through fraud and corruption,” he said.

“Allegations received through SITA’s ethics line have contributed significantly to the fight against fraud and corruption within the organisation, which resulted in a board-sanctioned ‘clean-up’ campaign targeting in particular the human capital management and supply chain management environments.”

He pointed out that SITA has reported the investigation findings to, among others, the SAPS, Independent Police Investigative Directorate and Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks), and the agency will continue to follow up regarding the progress made in respect of these investigations.

SITA acting CEO Ntutule Tshenye.
SITA acting CEO Ntutule Tshenye.

There were a total of 17 cases reported to the SAPS and Hawks. A SITA provincial manager with fraud allegations passed away during court proceedings, leading to the case being closed.

In another case, an advanced specialist and applications consultant was found guilty of fraud and was sentenced to a suspended term of three years. Also given the same sentence for a similar offense was a senior specialist for Central Government’s client business unit.

For a divisional head for demand management’s case, feedback regarding the status of the case is pending from SAPS.

In the fraud case of a chief corporate services official, the case has been withdrawn by the public prosecutor after coming to the conclusion that the defendant did not benefit from the false qualification when appointed by SITA.

All the cases are highlighted in the tables at the bottom of this story.

On interventions to address irregular and fruitless expenditure, SITA detected 27 cases related to FY2018/19 and 10 cases which were detected in FY2018/19 but occurred in previous financial years.

Tshenye presented that the loss control committee has been established to effectively manage irregular expenditure and fruitless as well as wasteful expenditure incurred.

“This includes the initiation of investigations where there is suspicion of fraud or corrupt activities; the recommendation of disciplinary action where appropriate; and recommendation of condonation where all required processes have been concluded.

“Since the establishment of the loss control committee, disciplinary action was recommended in respect of 55 cases (out of 107 cases) with 44 officials being implicated.”

He added that as a result, 15 employees were issued with written warnings, four were dismissed, three resigned, two reached mutual separation agreements with SITA, eight cases were withdrawn, while three were not found guilty following disciplinary hearings.

No: Name and Year Police case No. Allegation Reported to: Outcome/Status
1 Provincial Manager N/A (2009) Fraud (SCM) SAPS Defendant passed away during court proceedings. Completed
2 Advanced Specialist: Applications Consultant N/A (2009) Fraud (SCM) SAPS Guilty (39 Charges of fraud) (3 year suspended sentence). Completed
3 Senior Specialist: Client Business Unit: Central Government Brooklyn CAS 366/08/2010 Fraud (Finance) SAPS Guilty of Fraud (3 year Suspended sentence). Completed
4 Divisional Head: Demand Management and Consultant: Demand Management N/A (2014) Fraud/corruption (SCM) SAPS Feedback regarding the status of the case is pending from SAPS
5 Chief Operations Officer, Executive: Government Solutions and Standards (GSS); Executive: Supply Chain Management and General Manager: Legal Services N/A (2014) Corruption (SCM) SAPS Feedback regarding the status of the case is pending from SAPS
6 Executive: Supply Chain Management, Divisional Head of Supply Chain Management and Acting Divisional Head of Supply Chain Management N/A (2014) Suppy Chain management Irregularities SAPS Feedback regarding the status of the case is pending from SAPS
7 Lead Consultant: Employee Relations Brooklyn CAS 566/11/2016 Corruption SAPS and Hawks Case still under investigation. Ongoing
8 Chief Corporate Services Brooklyn CAS 568/11/2016 Fraud SAPS and Hawks Case has been withdrawn by the public prosecutor. Defendant did not benefit from the false qualification when appointed by SITA. Completed
No: Name and Year Police case No Allegation Reported to: Outcome/Status
9 Senior Manager: Procurement Order Management Brooklyn CAS 408/08/2017 Fraud (SCM) SAPS and Hawks Case still under investigation. Ongoing
10 Consultant: Acquisition Management Brooklyn CAS 318/9/2017 Corruption (SCM) SAPS and Hawks Case still under investigation. Ongoing
11 Manager: Sourcing Brooklyn CAS 359/8/2017 Corruption (SCM) SAPS and Hawks Case still under investigation. Ongoing
12 Supplier Support Officer Brooklyn CAS 22/06/2017 Corruption (SCM) SAPS and Hawks Case still under investigation. Ongoing
13 Specialist: LAN and Desktop Support Brooklyn CAS 258/10/2017 Fraud SAPS and Hawks Case still under investigation. Ongoing
14 Director of SITA Service Provider CAS 146/05/2017 Corruption (SCM) Hawks Case still under investigation. Ongoing
15 Senior Manager: Engagement Management Pietermaritzburg CAS 748/9/2017 Corruption (SCM) SAPS Case still under investigation. Ongoing
16 Senior Manager: Service Management Brooklyn CAS  232/10/2017 Child pornography SAPS and Hawks Case still under investigation. Ongoing
17 Director of SITA Service Provider Sunnyside CAS 334/05/2018 Corruption (SCM) Hawks Case still under investigation. Ongoing
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