By Kaya 959 News
The Gauteng Department of Treasury lost more than R6 million after it paid Microsoft in dollars instead of rands.
“Provincial Treasury erroneously processed an amount of $20 913 793.81 instead of the rand value of R20 913 793.81 as per e-Government payment advice, for the cost of Microsoft fees. This resulted in a debit amount of R 318 307 941.79 from the e-Government bank account,” the DA’s Adriana Randall said in a statement.
“According to the MEC for Finance and e-Government, Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko, the amount to be paid to Microsoft Ireland was R20 913 793.81.
“The Department submitted the payment advice to Provincial Treasury, Cash Book and Services for processing,” she added.
Strong action needed
Treasury officials recalled the money but lost millions in the transaction.
“After the error was made, e-Government requested Provincial Treasury recall the full amount of R318 307 941.79 from Microsoft. The money was successfully recalled in February 2021, with an amount of R 311 464 203.81, resulting in a shortfall of R6 843 737.90 because of the exchange rate.
Randall said the lost millions could have bought roughly 48 046 Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccines which were last priced at $10 (R142.44) per dose according to the Minister of Health in April.
She said while they welcome the investigation into this forex transaction, “they believe that stronger action should have been taken and the official responsible for this should have been suspended immediately and the money recouped from the official”.
“Consequence management is the only way in which errors like these will not happen and will send a strong message to any government official that is involved in negligence as seen at the e-Government department.
“Our residents in Gauteng deserve a government that holds officials and MECs to account when it comes to how our taxpayers’ money is spent now more than ever given the current Covid-19 pandemic,” Randall said.