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Nkandla: 15 officials face legal action

SIU head Vas Soni says a final report on the matter is expected to be released in June.

SIU head Vas Soni says his unit has evidence which implicates more than 15 officials in possible misconduct relating to Nkandla. Picture: Mail & Guardian.

JOHANNESBURG - The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has handed over evidence files to the Department of Public Works which implicates more than 15 officials involved in the Nkandla debacle.

The SIU is investigating how nearly R250 million was spent on upgrades to President Jacob Zuma's private KwaZulu-Natal home.

It is the third probe of its kind following investigations by an internal government task team and a damning report issued by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.

The final SIU report is expected to be released in June, the SIU says.

Speaking to Eyewitness News on Friday, SIU head Vas Soni says after some initial delays, the first milestone of the probe has been reached.

"We've now handed over to the Department of Public Works a set of files that contain evidence of possible misconduct by its employees."

He says the SIU has already briefed senior legal counsel as it prepared to institute civil claims against some of the contractors involved.

Within the next two weeks, Soni says evidence will also be handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority, which will then have to consider criminal charges.

He says the legal action is aimed at clawing back some of the public money spent on the project.

"The court should make a just and equitable order, as was done recently in the Sassa case, so that we could, on behalf of the public, claim that which the service providers were not entitled to."

But the key question for observers will be what the SIU's final report says about Zuma's role in the upgrades.

Madonsela, who released her report in March following a two-year investigation, found Zuma violated the executive ethics code, benefitted unduly from upgrades and failed to ask questions about how so much money was spent on the project.

A parliamentary ad-hoc committee has since been set up to investigate.

Meanwhile, Zuma has used the SIU investigation to justify a delay in giving a comprehensive response to Parliament.

He previously stated that he had never asked for the upgrades and would not repay any of the funds, as was recommended by Madonsela.