Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has reiterated her commitment to turn the department around and root out maladministration.
This comes after the High Court Gauteng Division, Pretoria, ordered Metric Industrial Suppliers CC to pay back more than R27 million earned fraudulently to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).
The fraudulent invoices were submitted to the department between April 2006 and November 2009.
The invoices of goods were not purchased by the department from the supplier, nor delivered by the supplier to the department.
The department’s former Supply Chain Management Head, Rick Nel, created fictitious purchase orders and delivery notes in respect of invoices submitted by Anand Pillay of Metric Industrial Suppliers and accepted by Nel, allegedly acting on behalf of DWS.
In one of many fraudulent transactions, the documents reflected that the purchase order was dated 8 May 2007 but the service delivery note and invoice were both dated 24 April 2007.
The anomaly in the supposed transaction is that the actual delivery had taken place prior to the goods even being ordered. This is against the departmental policies and the procurement regulations.
The fictitious purchase orders, delivery notes and invoices were for the delivery and supply of timber and shutter boards in Levubu, Thohoyandou.
The Special Investigative Unit (SIU) investigated the transactions, as part of Presidential Proclamation R54 of 2012.
The Proclamation authorized the SIU to investigate all issues relating to the procurement and contracting for goods, works services by or on behalf of the DWS and payments made in relation thereto.
The SIU investigations uncovered evidence that points towards the commission of the offences of fraud, theft and the contravention of the provision and combating of corrupt activities Act, No 12 of 2004 on the part of Nel and Pillay.
The court ruled that Metric Industrial Suppliers pay the Department of Water and Sanitation R27 510 067, 17 together with interest thereon at the prescribed rate of interest from time to time, calculated from 11 February 2014.
Metric Industrial Suppliers has also been ordered to pay the department’s legal costs.
The Minister, listed as the plaintiff in the case, has expressed her satisfaction on the judgement delivered by the High Court Gauteng Division.
“We are working very hard as a team to rid the Department of Water and Sanitation of fraud and corruption and we are also looking at audit findings and investigating any other misconduct related matters.
“We are winning our legal cases one at a time. As a result, our zero tolerance for corruption [which we have adopted] is becoming part of our culture,” Sisulu said on Thursday.