‘Spendthrift Monarch’ in the dock for R249m of irregular expenditure by his finance ministry

Mboweni is perhaps the most vocal member of Cabinet where it comes to responsible spending and good governance, warning on numerous occasions that government had to significantly rein in spending.

spendthrift monarch in the dock for r249m of irregular expenditure by his finance ministry - ‘Spendthrift Monarch’ in the dock for R249m of irregular expenditure by his finance ministry

Tito Mboweni’s finance department – widely viewed as a beacon of fiscal responsibility and sound financial management – has been called up for irregular expenditure to the tune of R249 million by the Auditor General.

Mboweni had said previously that he is willing to be hanged if that is what it takes to administer frugal spending in the Treasury. 

Screenshot 2021 02 10 at 13.43.06 - ‘Spendthrift Monarch’ in the dock for R249m of irregular expenditure by his finance ministry

Tsakani Maluleke, the recently appointed Auditor General, following the end of the late Kimi Makwetu’s term of office, wrote in her audit report of the National Treasury that the finance department spent money outside of the strictest guidelines of existing legislation for public finances.

“The department incurred irregular expenditure of R249 million. The majority of the irregular expenditure was caused by non-compliance with supply chain management and contract management processes.”

Mboweni had requested an extension of the deadline for submitting Treasury’s annual report and financial statements.

The AG said the delay in implementing the Integrated Financial Management System caused R66 million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

“Fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the amount of R66 million was incurred, as the department made a payment for technical support and maintenance not utilised by the department. This is as a result of delays in the implementation of the IFMS programme.”

Supply chain management

Maluleke said effective steps were not taken to prevent the fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

National Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane acknowledged in the annual report that National Treasury experienced challenges in the areas of supply chain management procedures, policies and systems during the 2019-20 financial year due to non-compliance.

“Measures to strengthen the supply chain management control environment include conducting a gap analysis by assessing the current practices, policies, procedures and relevant information as it pertains to the department’s supply chain management environment, identifying areas of weakness and making improvement recommendations.”

The spotlight will be on Mboweni later this month when he tables his Budget speech for 2021.

He is widely expected to repeat his message of the urgent need for tightening of spending in light of longstanding economic challenges and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance is due to meet with National Treasury and the office of the Auditor General Wednesday to discuss the annual report, financial statements, and the audit report.

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