SIU, NPA say they’re making progress in probing COVID-19 related corruption

On Sunday, the head of the SIU Andy Mothibi along with counterparts at the National Prosecuting Authority and the Hawks gave an update on the push to battled corruption.

FILE: NDPP Shamila Batohi at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 4 December 2018. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) said it was making good progress probing COVID-19 related corruption.

On Sunday, the head of the SIU Andy Mothibi, along with counterparts at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Hawks, gave an update on the push to battle corruption.

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Mothibi said R10.3 billion in alleged irregular contracts are under the unit's microscope.

“Of the R10.3 billion that’s under investigation, we have about 10 matters which are at the special tribunal valued at about R259 million. These are under way to be adjudicated for purposes of recovery.”

He explained some of the probes have been finalised.

“We have completed about 26% of the investigations, which translates to about 164 contracts. The contracts that are still under investigations translates to about 51%. The 26% is valued at R3.5 billion."

He's emphasised the importance of law enforcement agencies working together.

“We are of the view that the progress we have made sends out a positive message, it sends out a message that we will not relent in dealing with the wrongdoing during this COVID-19 investigation.”

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Meanwhile, the NPA said in as much as progress was being made in dealing with COVID-19 related corruption, there were challenges.

“We are on a trajectory to really try to rebuild and capacitate institutions to deal with pre-COVID corruption and then COVID hit us, and so, I really have to emphasise that in as much as a lot of good work is being done and the wheels of justice are turning, there are huge challenges.”

NPA head Shamila Batohi said their role was to prosecute cases and to recover the proceeds of the crime.

But she said the challenges were immense and there was a need to capacitate different regions where these cases were tried.

“The investigations, in as much as we’re trying and things are moving in quicker than we had hoped, we still have challenges with the investigative capacity, with the prosecutorial capacity, we are filling posts. The impact of COVID has made it difficult for us to recruit as fast as possible.”

Batohi said government needed to decide how important it was for law enforcement to be properly resourced.

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