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Treasury Hunts Fraud Worth $17 Billion in S. Africa Spending

  • Procurement unit negotiates new phone, car deals to cut costs
  • Treasury presses for tight budget to avoid credit-rating cut
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It’s South Africa’s equivalent to the proverbial $640 Pentagon toilet seat -- a paper binding machine that the government buys from its suppliers for the rand equivalent of almost $2,000, about 13 times what it costs in a store. 

Kenneth Brown, the nation’s 54-year-old chief procurement officer, cited the binding machine as an example of the massive waste that means as much as 40 percent of the government’s 600 billion rand ($44 billion) budget for goods and services is being consumed by inflated prices from suppliers, and fraud.