Ample proof the South African military is not exempt from the fraud and corruption permeating many government departments and entities comes from SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Provost Marshal General, Rear Admiral Mokgadi Maphoto.
He told Wednesday’s meeting of one of two Parliamentary oversight committees tasked with defence and military veterans issues that eight instances of irregular expenditure amount to just over R2 billion.
The “big fish”, as it were, in Maphoto’s presentation was that a report on the ongoing and seemingly disastrous 1 Military Hospital RAMP (repair and maintenance project) is now with the Hawks (Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation). The Military Police investigation continues alongside that of the independent directorate in the SA Police Service (SAPS). R10 million worth of irregular expenditure is being investigated in this instance.
Other audits on irregular expenditure were for the irregular awarding of a Department of Defence (DoD) asset management contract (R604.5 million); irregular expenditure at a catering school, service not specified (R561 120); a second asset management contract (R447.2 million); a through life management contract (R239 million); non-utilisation of rented space in a Centurion office park (Eco Park – R108 million); procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) (R275 million); bids for service and licences not properly evaluated (R216.7 million) and non-compliance with “mandatory pre-qualifying criteria) (R105 million).
Three of these cases are now with the Logistics Division for “implementation of recommendations” (the asset management contract, catering school expenditure, and R447 million asset management contract).
The R239 million through life management contract will go to the Hawks for further investigation; and “no-one can be held accountable” for the unused EcoPark office space, according to the rear admiral’s presentation. Other cases have seen court appearances and postponements and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is “collecting” R41 million from a service provider who conceded overcharging the DoD. In this specific case, investigations are ongoing regarding fraud and corruption now totalling R175.7 million.
Maphoto said 13 military personnel from the four services and three divisions of the SANDF were found guilty of corruption and fraud related charges and fined a total of R392 170. The divisions involved are Logistics, Joint Operations and Special Forces.
Committee members on Wednesday heard 56 SANDF personnel, ranging in rank from airmen through to corporals, flight and staff sergeants, warrant officers, petty and chief petty officers, majors, captains (not SA Navy), lieutenant colonels, colonels as well as a brigadier general and a major general (both SA Army) are suspended. The suspensions are in connection with investigations into charges of corruption and fraud totalling R30.6 million.
Ten Public Service Act personnel are suspended while investigations are underway into R4.7 million of fraud and corruption.