Scopa lambasts justice division

THE Department of Justice breaks the law when it comes to managing government funds, Parliament's standing committee on public accounts said.

THE Department of Justice breaks the law when it comes to managing government funds, Parliament's standing committee on public accounts said.

"The problem in your department is that people get to the office and talk about Kaizer Chiefs or the Sharks all day and don't do their work," Scopa chairperson Themba Godi told justice director-general Nonkululeko Msomi yesterday.

Last year Scopa identified the department as one of the 47 rotten apples of government financial mismanagement after it received a negative opinion from auditor-general Terrence Nombembe.

Nombembe found irregular and fruitless expenditure amounting to R60million. He was also unsatisfied with the department's claim that R34million of irregular expenditure had been condoned or forgiven.

The auditor-general said he would investigate a further R53million in irregular expenditure and another R18million in fruitless and wasteful expenditure. And he could not form an opinion on yet another R63million, which the department had failed to disclose to auditors.

The department's chief financial officer Sandra Gomm landed in hot water when she said the R53million was above board, but the auditor-general had not been given documents to show that this money was connected to the department leasing out photocopiers. She admitted that supplying correct documents to the auditor-general was her responsibility but she depended on courts.

ANC MP Setlamorago Thobejane wanted to know why she had not been punished in line with the Public Finance Management Act.

Gomm also landed in hot water when she said she would apply for "condonation" for R3,4million spent on overtime - though the department had no overtime policy.

An angry Cope MP, Lorraine Mashiane, waved a printout of things Gomm had told the committee in 2007.

Officials admitted that they had not done their work properly.

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