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DA wants Treasury to reveal 'damning' findings against Deputy FinMin

Jun 19 2017 12:51

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance on Monday expressed concern that Deputy Finance Minister Sfiso Buthelezi could have the power to "conceal and bury damning findings" against him from the period when he was chair of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

The DA said in a statement on its website that it has submitted an application to obtain the findings of all the forensic investigations into Buthelezi from the period when he was the Prasa chair. The application has been made in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA).

According to a statement by the DA, the party regards it in the best interest of the South African public that these findings be made public.

Earlier this month Fin24 reported that the cost of forensic investigations into Prasa's affairs amounted to R148m over two financial years, according to Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi. Besides the R148m probe in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years, an additional R14m is budgeted for the current financial year.

Maswanganyi said Prasa is currently under investigation for irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to R500m identified by the auditor general for the 2014/15 financial year.

In addition, contracts of more than R10m concluded between 2012 and 2015 are being investigated, as part of the remedial steps former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recommended in her report on Prasa which was released in August 2015. Maswanganyi said he expects the investigations to be concluded by the end of July this year.

Prasa was fingered for irregular expenditure of over R14bn in its annual report last year. In the 2015/16 financial year, the agency incurred irregular expenditure of R4.1bn, but an additional R9bn was identified in the same report that related to previous years.

"Reports recently stated that the forensic investigations' findings - going as far back as seven years - show that Prasa executives, the board and Buthelezi did not uphold their fiduciary duties when they ignored wasteful, fruitless and irregular spending in multiple tender procurement processes totalling more than R1bn and violated the Public Finance Management Act," the DA said on Monday.

"The findings of the investigations were apparently passed on to National Treasury recently and now Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and Buthelezi are left to act on the findings. The minister is between a rock and a hard place, and only a full public disclosure will ease this for him."

The DA said it has already opened a criminal case against Buthelezi for apparent involvement in corruption at Prasa. The party has also written to Transport Committee chair Dikeledi Magadzi to summon the Hawks to update Parliament on its continued Prasa investigations.

Furthermore, it has written to Gigaba to pass on full findings of the forensic investigations on Buthelezi to the Hawks.

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treasury  |  prasa  |  sfiso buthelezi  |  probe  |  paia  |  sa economy

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