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SIU probing corruption claims related to COVID-19 funds

The unit said the graft complaints related to the manufacturing of face masks, the distribution of food parcels and awareness campaigns.

Picture: 123rf

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article originally stated that the SIU was dealing with grievances related to the multi-million rand Solidarity Fund. This was incorrect and has been amended to reflect that the SIU is investigating corruption and fraud allegations related to activities linked to money set aside for fighting the coronavirus.

JOHANNESBURG - The Special Investigating Unit said its office was piling up with complaints of alleged corruption relating to COVID-19.

The unit said the graft complaints related to the manufacture of face masks, the distribution of food parcels and awareness campaigns.

“We have decided that we’ll do a COVID-19 probe that will look into all the issues, so that we can deal with investigations that require our immediate attention," said spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.

Meanwhile, six suspects linked to the R5.7 million COVID-19 UIF fraud were granted R5,000 bail each by the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Monday.

The money was intended for labour brokers to distribute to about 1,400 UIF beneficiaries.

Some of it was, however, fraudulently transferred into the account of employee Tshepang Phohole, who wired it to his family members.

The State did not oppose bail on the basis that since the arrest, the six suspects had been cooperating with the investigation and their addressed had been verified.

The court has ordered them not to dispose of the material goods that were bought with the fraudulently obtained money until the Hawks conclude their probe.

The National Prosecuting Authority has obtained permission to freeze and close more than 20 accounts.

Five cars were seized during the arrest at the weekend.

The case has been postponed to September for further investigations.

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