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889 govt cars unaccounted for

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By INNOCENT MAPHALALA - SWAZI TIMES-27-Jul-2009

MBABANE – At least 889 government veh-icles could not be accounted for, over a period of four years, because they had been stolen, missing or boarded.

Boarded vehicles are those that are removed from the road and disposed of, usually through auctions. Sicelo Dlamini, Central Transport Administration (CTA) Transport Officer, has admitted that this happened right under his nose.

Dlamini made this admission before investigators who conducted a forensic audit of the CTA. The audit covered a period of four years, beginning from 2003/04 to 2006/07. It was conducted by KPMG Management Services, whose report has already been submitted to Cabinet for implementation.

According to government Stores Regulations, departmental Transport Officers are responsible for the official acceptance of vehicles and heavy plant from the CTA, together with any tools and equipment. They also have to maintain a register of all vehicles and plant. They are also supposed to ensure that all vehicles and plant are returned promptly to the CTA if they are no longer required by their departments.

Investigators

However, Dlamini told KPMG investigators that very few ministries appeared to ensure that their departmental transport officers adhered to the laid-down procedures. He said such officers were of no real assistance to the government garage. All accidents involving government vehicles are also supposed to be reported, by the police, to Dlamini, as the Transport Officer.

The outcome of any police investigation, including the decision of the court if a prosecution has taken place, must be reported to Dlamini. According to a report in our possession, Dlamini informed the investigators that, despite being the Transport Officer, he did not participate in the purchase, boarding and registration of vehicles.

He said this was done by Mphumelelo Mamba, the Chief Operations Engineer. He said on delivery of new vehicles, keys were handed to Mamba, who arranged for the first registration of new cars. Dlamini also told the investigators that management of the government fleet of cars was an embarrassment. He admitted that ‘there appeared to be regular vehicle thefts.’ The Transport Officer informed investigators that for years, he was not allowed to do his job, as Mamba did almost everything.

He said “only recently” had he been allowed to participate in the purchase, boarding and registration of government vehicles. It was the finding of the Commission of Inquiry that 889 vehicles had been reported stolen, missing or boarded. The mystery is that many of these vehicles were later serviced or refuelled – after the date on which they were reported stolen, missing or boarded.

Specify

The report does not specify exactly how many of the 889 cars were stolen and how many were missing. It does not specify either, how many were boarded. However, the report makes it clear that the exact number of vehicles owned by the Swaziland Government was not known at the time of the forensic audit.

CTA employed a private contractor to conduct an audit of government cars, an exercise carried out between November 13, 2006 and October 25, 2007. Its results are not included in the KPMG final report.


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