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HOW E1 000 SETTLED E100 000 LOAN

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LOBAMBA – Officers from the Government Computer Services failed to convince the PAC that the government system was so flawed that it would record a payment of E1 000 as E100 000.


This emanates from the fact that one of the defaulters of the Community Poverty Reduction Fund, Tfobhi Dlamini, who was owing the fund E100 000, had only paid E1 000, but the system reflected that she had already settled her debt.


The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said it was clear that someone from the Computer Services Department had tried to do a favour for Dlamini, who coincidentally had recently retired from the Ministry of Tinkhundla Administration and Development.
Lubombo MP Lorraine Nxumalo asked if it was a system error, why the former officer had stopped making the E1 000 monthly instalments to settle her balance which was at E99 000 then.


However, the officers from the Computer Services Department, who were identified as Make Mtsetfwa and Moses Shongwe, insisted  that the system was capable of recording the figures wrongly and said it had converted the paid E1 000 into 100 000 cents, which was what had happened on that day. Mtsetfwa said the system had reacted the same way in two other transactions also on the Fund as another person had paid E500, but the system had reflected that he had paid E50 000. The PAC wondered why other payments made to government did not reflect as higher figures.


“Why specifically the Poverty Reduction Fund and it’s too much of a coincidence that this could happen to the officers who used to be employed under the ministry,” said Nxumalo.


 Error


Chairperson of the PAC MP Phila Buthelezi asked the Accountant General, Dumsile Ngwenya, if she had ever heard of such a system error.
However, the AG said it was the first of its kind. The PAC wondered what would have happened if the Office of the Auditor General had not noted this anomaly when carrying out an audit.


Dvokodvweni MP Mduduzi Magagula said if someone paid E10 000 at Revenue, then the system would reflect that individual as having paid E1 million.
“Would government have then called and said come and get your refund because you have overpaid us?” asked Magagula.


The PAC said it was clear that someone within the Computer Services had fiddled with the system in order to try and cover one of the debts.
MP Buthelezi said in as much as the officers had hatched a good plan, they could not fly it past the PAC as it was full of smart individuals.


Madlangempisi MP Sibusiso Nxumalo also said he had a vast knowledge in computers and accounts and educated his peers that there was a term used in the systems language called GIGO (garbage in. garbage out). He said the system would always cough out information that did not tally with the previous transaction.


The PAC concluded that after the Computer Services plan had failed, they retreated to the background.
As a result, Dlamini is now repaying the instalments of E1 000 and to that she owes government E91 000, according to the PS in the Ministry of Tinkhundla Administration and Development, Nonhlanhla Dlamini.      

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