South Africa’s IBA cited for fraud

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), set up in 1994 to regulate broadcasting in the post-apartheid era, has been found guilty of fraud, financial mismanagement and a lack of financial control.

In a report to Parliament on Wednesday, the Auditor-General’s office, which conducted an in-depth investigation into the affairs of the IBA, called for a fundamental review of the manner in which the regulatory body conducted its finances.

The report said that, among other financial excesses, IBA councilors upgraded their air tickets to business class and awarded themselves corporate Diners Club cards with no credit limit.

Supporting documentation could not be found for 46% of the amount debited to the Diners Club account. “These cards were often used for personal expenses and the IBA was not always appropriately reimbursed.”

Loans were granted to staff without approval and in the absence of written contracts. There was also no limit on the use of gas credit cards and staff members used IBA vehicles for private purposes.

The report also stated that 800,000 rand ($180,000) was fraudulently transferred from the IBA and deposited into a non-IBA account.

The report further stated that policy and procedures for traveling expenses were not always adhered to and councilors used more expensive hotels than were prescribed without proper motivation.

“Limited financial information was disclosed in the budgets and (in the) financial statements of expenses incurred by the council,” the report said. “This made effective financial control impossible.”

IBA co-chairs Peter de Klerk and Sebiletso Mokone-Matabane admitted at a press conference Wednesday that there had been “serious problems in management controls and procedures involving policy, human resources and finance administration.”

Asked whether councilors were going to resign, de Klerk said he did not know if this was relevant, because they are accountable to parliament.

“The parliamentary procedure still has to take place,” he said. “We do not see the need to resign at this stage of the game.”

He added that the IBA will “take all steps necessary to remedy these problems that have been identified.”

Mokone-Matabane said she did not think the IBA owed the public an apology.

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