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Scopa orders forensic investigation into Compensation Fund

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Scopa has given Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi 30 days to lay out the roadmap for the forensic investigation.

Minister Thulas Nxesi. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

THE STANDING committee on public accounts (Scopa) on Wednesday ordered Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi to institute a forensic investigation into the affairs of the Compensation Fund.

Scopa also ordered Nxesi to undertake a performance assessment of the Compensation Fund’s commissioner, Vuyo Mafata, and Employment and Labour Department director-general Thobile Lamati, who oversee the fund.

The fund , in the 2019/20 financial year, recorded yet another disclaimer of audit opinion bringing to eight and two adverse audit opinions in a decade.

In her latest report, Auditor-General Tsakani Maluleke could not express an opinion on the financial statements of the entity.

“I was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion on these consolidated and separate financial statements,” Maluleke said.

Scopa chairperson Mkhulelo Hlengwa said the sad state of affairs happened under the watch of the same individuals who were in charge.

Hlengwa said the previous Parliament conducted an oversight visit to the Compensation Fund where they raised issues and the fund committed and made pledges to fix matters.

“Year in and out the audits point to the same shortcomings and deficiencies,” he said.

Hlengwa said it was either nobody cared to take Parliament seriously or nobody took their responsibilities seriously.

He said it seemed nobody bothered about the well-being of the fund and things continued in the same way.

“It is a dereliction of duty of the highest order.

“None of the responses today, as far as I am concerned, have given comfort to allay our anxieties and concerns about the Compensation Fund.

“It is becoming tiring and absolutely nauseating to say the same thing over and over again to the Compensation Fund, worse to the same individuals.”

Hlengwa said Scopa was in full agreement that a full-scale forensic investigation into the Compensation Fund be instituted for the 10-year period.

“We are giving you, minister, 30 days to lay out the roadmap of that forensic investigation. Also refer it to the Special Investigating Unit subject to a proclamation.

“In 30 days we expect you to make submission on the modus operandi to be employed for purposes of the forensic investigation for you to report to us on how it will be done, who will do it and the terms of reference,” he added.

Hlengwa said the audit showed that the internal audit unit was functional during the year under review but nobody cared to listen to its recommendations.

“This smacks of co-ordinated corruption.”

He said they were also calling for Nxesi to conduct a performance assessment of Lamati and Mafata in order to make a determination whether they were capable, competent and fit for purpose.

Hlengwa said it could not be that there was the same audit in more than five year while the “same individuals for five year plus were in charge”.

“Something has to give in, minister, and if you are not to bite the bullet and not take tough decisions about the individuals, we are to make recommendations accordingly,” he said.