The Auditor-General has identified irregularities in the Department of Human Settlements in the Free State. The matter has been referred to investigative authorities for remedial action.

The AG has found multi-million rand payments were made for services not rendered in the Department. Payments were also made for incomplete housing projects.

The AG now has legislative powers to refer irregularities to law enforcement agencies.

The AG’s investigation focused on non-compliance with legislation, fraud and misuse of public resources.

The office of the Auditor-General in the Free State has not yet reported these irregularities in the Free State Human Settlements Department to law enforcement agencies, such as the Hawks, the Public Protector and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

The legislation empowers the AG to compel government officials implicated in irregularities to pay back the money from their own pockets to the state.

Mbandazayo says the powers came into effect in April 2019.¬†“If the accounting officer doesn’t appropriately deal with the material irregularity, our mandate allows us to refer the irregularity to relevant public bodies for investigation,” says Mbandazayo.

The Department of Human Settlements in the Free State has declined to comment.

To date, six material irregularities have been identified nationally by the Auditor-General.

ERRATUM

Note that paragraph 5 in this article has been modified to reflect the correct version of the story.

The correction is:

The office of the Auditor-General in the Free State has not yet reported these irregularities in the Free State Human Settlements Department to law enforcement agencies, such as the Hawks, the Public Protector and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).