Legal View

DTPS lifts lid on entities' corruption cases

Despite efforts by CEO Setumo Mohapi to clean up SITA, it still comes out as the entity with the most corruption cases referred to authorities.
Despite efforts by CEO Setumo Mohapi to clean up SITA, it still comes out as the entity with the most corruption cases referred to authorities.

Three of the entities reporting to the telecoms ministry have referred a total of 20 cases to crime and investigation units for contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

This information has come to light in a reply to a Parliamentary question posed by Democratic Alliance (DA) MP Stevens Mokgalapa to telecoms and postal services minister Siyabonga Cwele in May. The reply was received last week.

The Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act is a government policy developed to prevent and fight corruption within the state and the private sector. Law firm Michalsons says the Act is the primary law governing anti-bribery and corruption prevention and enforcement in SA.

In regards to the Act, Sentech, the SA Post Office (SAPO) and the State IT Agency (SITA), three of the ministry's six entities, have referred cases to the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks.

In the reply, Cwele indicated SAPO currently has one case relating to the Act. He said it is being investigated by the Hawks and SAPO security, and an investigation unit is following up on the case. The minister noted Sentech has reported two cases of alleged fraudulent activity to the SAPS, which are also being investigated by SAPS.

SITA, according to the minister's reply, is the entity with the most cases. In total, 17 cases have been reported to the SAPS, Hawks or both law enforcement agencies.

"Fifteen cases were reported to the SAPS, with nine of those cases also being reported to the DPCI, since the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, Act 12 of 2004, as amended was accented to."

Legacy woes

Telecoms and postal services minister Siyabonga Cwele.
Telecoms and postal services minister Siyabonga Cwele.

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.

CEO Setumo Mohapi has pointed to legacy issues playing a huge role in SITA's compromised position. He said the two pivotal areas that added to the company's woes were supply chain management and human capital management.

Since taking office in 2015, Mohapi has reiterated his commitment to cleaning up the organisation by rooting out corruption. In line with the restructuring exercise, SITA's executive committee established an internal forensic investigation into the organisation's operations.

The investigation uncovered large-scale corruption in supply chain management and human capital management, which the CEO described as destroying the soul and essence of SITA.

Mohapi previously pointed out that by focusing more on procurement, a new culture started brewing in certain areas of SITA through individuals, in the supply market, and also in the customer side.

Corruption in years

2017 was a bad year for SITA, with the majority of the cases reported during this year.
2017 was a bad year for SITA, with the majority of the cases reported during this year.

Mohapi previously noted the agency is working with the SAPS and Hawks in cases that involved criminal activity within SITA. He revealed that employees facing internal disciplinary procedures were dismissed. A total of 180 individuals linked to corruption activity are no longer at SITA.

Based on the Parliamentary reply, three cases have been concluded by the SAPS and the remaining cases are under investigation.

Cwele further stated that informal and ongoing communication between the SAPS, Hawks, National Prosecution Authority representatives, as well as SITA occurs as and when additional information of clarity is required during the investigations.

The table reflects the results of the cases that have been finalised.
The table reflects the results of the cases that have been finalised.

Meanwhile, only one entity of the Department of Communications has reported cases relating to the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities which relates to the Act.

Responding to the DA's Evelyn Wilson, the department revealed the SA Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) has a total of 30 cases reported to the SAPS and Hawks.

All the cases were investigated by SAPS, according to the communications ministry. "All outstanding cases are continuously followed up by the SABC's internal audit division. Of the 13 cases closed, only two have resulted in convictions."

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