Government officials who waste taxpayers money through irregular expenditure may soon be jailed if found responsible for wastage.
According to a report by The Star, the National Treasury’s acting accountant-general, Zanele Mxunyelwa, has instructed all government departments and state institutions to now follow a new irregular expenditure framework to catch out lazy and wasteful state employees.
BusinessTeck reports that under this now framework, government officials responsible for incurring irregular expenditure will be forced to pay back the money, be referred to the police, or face disciplinary action, which could include jail time. The changes are expected to be implemented from 1 December.
The new framework entails that accounting officers or authorities must refer irregular expenditure to internal audit units to establish the facts about the transaction, and obtain recommendations on the next steps to be taken if they suspect fraudulent, corrupt or criminal acts. If the acts are criminal, the law needs to run its course and some official may end up in prison.
A November 2017 report found that irregular expenditure by government had risen to over R45.6 billion across the country. The issue was also a major consideration in the 2018 budget, which found that the expenditure needed to be plugged to preserve a sustainable tax base.