Mbeki, Motlanthe 'misspent R40m'

THE Presidency under Thabo Mbeki and his successor Kgalema Motlanthe misspent almost R40million of taxpayers' money, Parliament heard yesterday.

The irregular expenses included loss through theft, fraud and the funding of the National Youth Commission (NYC) - even after it had failed to present financial records.

Presidency chief operating officer Jessie Duarte told the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that the irregular and unauthorised expenditures included giving R24,5million to the NYC, although the commission had failed to submit financial reports. There were no repercussions for the financial officer who approved the funding and who had since left office, Duarte said.

The NYC and Umsombomvu Fund have since been merged to form the National Youth Development Agency.

Other irregular expenditure happened when the Presidency held a "national awards ceremony" at a cost of R3,7million that had not been budgeted for in March 2009 when Motlanthe was president.

MPs were shocked to hear that the Presidency had channelled R3million from a Swedish donor to a non-profit organisation which had collapsed, forcing the Presidency to refund the Swedes.

The period under review is the last six months of Mbeki's presidency and the six months of Motlanthe's presidency.

During the period, staff debts increased from R2,4million the previous year to R3million last year. The Presidency also lost R5,4million to theft.

Officials who defrauded the Presidency to the tune of R1,5million are allegedly still being investigated.