South Africa May Ring-Fence Transnet’s Irregular Spending: BD

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South Africa’s Department of Public Enterprises could ring-fence billions of rand of irregular expenditure by Transnet SOC Ltd. to ensure clean audit findings for the state-owned ports and rail operator, Business Day reported, citing minister Pravin Gordhan.

“We are in discussions with the auditor-general and the Treasury to, in a sense, ring-fence this state-capture period so it can be dealt with in its own right without contaminating audit findings in the current environment,” the newspaper cited Gordhan as saying.

Transnet was among a number of state-owned entities used to siphon off government cash by criminals operating under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, now subject of a lengthy judicial inquiry into graft, known locally as state capture. The company has sought to clean up operations under new Chief Executive Officer Portia Derby, separating its procurement and finance functions and reviewing the overall structure.

Transnet on Friday reported 10 billion rand ($617 million) of irregular expenditure in the last fiscal year. Malpractices uncovered in the year to March dated back as far as 2011 and take Transnet’s total of dubious spending to 114 billion rand.

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