Government could severely lose money from the sale of state-owned properties as the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) is trampling on public asset disposal requirements.
The Auditor General, Robby Sebopeng, confirmed this in the 2010/2011 report which audited the performance of the Board, operating as a parastatal under the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
The Board is mandated to effectively procure and dispose public assets on behalf of the government.
Sebopeng noted that the Board is at odds with the mandate, as the procured government assets which represent more than 50 percent of Gross National Product, are disposed haphazardly without surveys and valuations. He indicated that PPADB is negligent of duties as it also never makes efforts to see if government achieves value for money from disposal.
“This situation can adversely affect government proceeds from the sale of public properties,” he warned.
The report reveals that there are cases where properties are auctioned when the Board did not authorize and approve them to be disposed, a situation which has raised suspicions of corruption.
It added that some government departments are already complaining about the rate at which government vehicles are disposed. The report shows that the situation is negatively affecting service delivery, as it seems to be incompatible with procurement of new government vehicles.
According to PPDAB, government assets are supposed to be surveyed at the end of each financial year to ascertain whether they are suitable for disposal. Following the surveys, government can dispose assets through public auction or destruction.
The auditor general raised concern that stakeholders and the public are denied access to information on how the disposals are conducted. The non transparent disposals are likely to be unfair and not equitable. He emphasized that this has also cemented suspicions in the public that the disposal is often corrupt.
“PPADB never incorporates reports on asset disposal in their annual performance reports. Records are also inadequately kept, a situation which has hindered the government from assessing and assuring that sales objectives achieved and gain best returns,” he said.
However, PPADB management noted in the report that they are failing to fully comply with asset disposal regulations due to shortage of staff.
In an interview, the Board’ Public Relations Officer, Ditapole Tsheboeng, said that they are aware of OAG findings. Tsheboeng was quick to point out that efforts are on going to ensure that PPADB complies with asset disposal laws when getting rid of government properties which are no longer required.
“The PPADB agreed with the recommendations of the OAG. PPADB is currently working on a guide that will be issued to all Procuring & Disposing Entities before the end of the financial year, outlining the processes to be followed in the disposal of assets,” she said.
She added that an appropriate monitoring tool has recently been developed to assist in monitoring the compliance of committees of the Board.
“Training workshops have been conducted from April 2010 to date which included the Disposal of Public Assets,” said the Public Relations Officer.