The Guardian


June 8th, 2012

At the Global Africa Diaspora summit, African officials came together to discuss how to clamp down on procurement fraud.

Most African countries have a poor track record when it comes to combatingprocurement fraud. But there are signs that this could be changing – at least in South Africa. At the Global Africa Diaspora summit, held in Johannesburg in May, I ran a course on procurement fraud.

One of the aims of the summit, which was supported by the African Union, is to encourage involvement in African affairs by Africans living outside the continent. Some of the delegates said that people were reluctant to invest in existing business – or to establish new ones – unless there was more certainty that money would be spent well and that procurement was based on the best suppliers, not corrupt systems.

The first step in addressing procurement fraud is to admit that it is happening and to then take action against offenders. This appears to be happening in South Africa, where national newspapers have been highlighting alleged misdemeanours by senior officials.

According to The Johannesburg Star, the Nehawu trade union has called for the temporary suspension of Humphrey Mmemezi, the member of the executive council for local government and housing in the Guateng province (which covers Johannesburg and Pretoria), pending investigation over alleged misuse of a corporate procurement card. The ANC is also calling for an investigation. While there have been some high-profile cases of individual abuse in the UK, a recent report from the National Audit Office said civil servants were able to abuse government-issued credit cards because of failure in oversight…Read more.