Monday, August 15, 2022

DCEC warns against abuse of public vehicles

Public servants employed as drivers at government and councils countrywide may face corruption charges for failure to log their use of government vehicles ÔÇô the DCEC stated this week. Also liable are supervisors who are too negligent to maintain log books which usually leads to unwarranted overtime, unaccounted consumption of fuel, and inflated hours of work, all of which the DCEC feels are done deliberately as there would be no supervision from those tasked with doing so. Chief Project Officer at DCEC Anti Corruption Unit Lesego Phorano revealed at a health workshop in Maun that there has been an observation that log books are never attended to, and that in most cases, authorizing officers leave drivers with all the responsibility of maintaining log books.

As a result, he said drivers run personal errands using government resources. Phorano was responding to queries raised by participants who demanded to know the extent to which government drivers are allowed to use government vehicles. The other concern was that on official trips, the driver would drop off officers where they would have lodged and then proceed to go and look for accommodation elsewhere, thus bringing in confusion as to who between the driver and the officer should sign the log book. He said that only officers are authorized to open and close the log book whenever a trip commences and ends. He said in instances where the driver travels alone delivering drugs or any other stuff, log books should be signed by receiving officers during departure and arrival times, adding that authorizing officers should stick to time estimates so that drivers may be held answerable and accountable for “idle time”.

“This is not only a concern with employees from the Ministry of Health, as it has been observed at all government departments. This is so because you have sympathetic leaders who never see fault in the way you perform duties. It has also come to our attention that besides bad conduct by drivers, officers also have a tendency to forge overtime claims. They also do not retire imprest, and when they finally do, it always comes in the form of installments. You need to be warned that what you are doing is very wrong and will be followed up soon”, said Phorano. For her part Deputy Permanent Secretary in the MoH Ontlametse Mokopakgosi said log books should be treated as vehicle tracking tools. She said the book also has a transport manual and that the expectation is that all drivers should be conscious of all that is entailed in it.

“We also expect officers travelling with these drivers to be responsible enough and have an idea of estimated kilometers to whatever places they are going to lodge at, so that there could be an indication of where they would have gone and whether they (drivers) had exceeded the estimated kilometers. This will also allow those in authority to question and take appropriate action for unauthorized distance. Drivers should be made aware that it is unlawful to abuse the system, and this is where managers and supervisors should step in and make sure government resources are protected”, she said.

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