Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has called for all personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts to be made public amid reports of alleged corruption by tenderpreneurs and government officials.
During National Treasury’s parliamentary briefing on PPE procurement during Covid-19 pandemic on Wednesday, Mboweni said it was now up to law enforcement to investigate Covid-19 corruption and ensure culprits are brought to book.
The finance minister said it appeared that Treasury instructions on PPE contracts were not followed in some instances and people found the opportunity to “do that which is wrong”.
“If all the procurement parties followed the tender and procurement processes, we would not be having this conversation today. The Treasury instructions are very clear: description of the item, supplier’s name, unit price of the material being procured, quantity, total price; and if this price in line with the Treasury instruction or not,” said Mboweni.
He reminded the committee of his ‘prophecy’ that thieves had already started planning to steal shortly after the announcement of the R500 billion emergency funding package. He has now called for all awarded contracts to be made public.
“In my conversation with MECs of finance tomorrow I will insist that all those who won tenders must be published for the public to see, as well as who the competitors were, and on what basis the losing companies lost. We also want to know the age of the companies.”
National Treasury Director-General, Dondo Mogajane, said Treasury was considering new procurement controls that would “eliminate” the chances of corruption.
“The key message here is that the responsibility of procurement lies with accounting officers. They must account or be held accountable. What we cannot keep quiet about is politically exposed persons and their participation in public procurement,” he said.