Water dept ramps up fraud awareness campaign

Thursday, November 10, 2022

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and its stakeholders have adopted a zero-tolerance stance towards fraud and corruption.

The department has collaborated with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners South Africa (ACFE SA) in an effort to create awareness and encourage the public to take a pro-active role against fraud and corruption.

During the International Fraud Awareness Week, from 13 – 19 November 2022, department officials will learn what constitutes fraud and corruption, and also how to identify it.

International Fraud Awareness Week encourages business leaders and employees to proactively take steps to minimise the impact of fraud by promoting anti-fraud awareness and education.

Department spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, said officials will also learn how to implement the internal controls that will prevent, detect and combat various exposures to fraud.

“All officials are urged to play a role and support every initiative that the department, working with its stakeholders, takes to fight fraud and corruption,” Ratau said in a statement.

Ratau said the department’s efforts to root out fraud and corruption is taking shape, with 97 officials found guilty of various financial offences since 2013. Of the 97 officials, 13 have been dismissed, including the recent dismissal of a Deputy Director-General.

Ratau said 38 officials have also received final written warning letters, while others were demoted and others suspended without pay for periods ranging from one to three months.

“As part of the measures to turn the tide, the Chief Directorate: Internal Audit has been proactive in nipping fraud and corruption in the bud by holding awareness sessions and educating officials in the department about the effects of their actions.

"To this end, 78 awareness campaigns were held during the period 2019 to 2022, with 1 927 officials in attendance.

“The department has dedicated capacity to investigate allegations and incidents of fraud and corruption. These investigators are members of the ACFE and hold the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation. This means that they are part of the global network of anti-fraud professionals, and they are suitably qualified and experienced to carry out these investigations,” Ratau said.

The DWS often collaborates with the SIU by sharing information and ensuring that documents are provided timeously to ensure the successful investigation of allegations.

“The department also institutes disciplinary action against those who have been found by the SIU to have committed acts of fraud or corruption. It further collaborates with the SIU by joining any litigation process that has been initiated by the SIU to recover funds that have been stolen or to have the contracts reviewed and set aside,” Ratau said.

The public and other government officials are urged to report fraud and corruption to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline (NACH), which is hosted by the Office of the Public Service Commission (OPSC), by calling 0800 701 701 (toll free number). – SAnews.gov.za

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