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Lamola details action taken against those using COVID to commit crime

Minister Lamola was responding to opposition party claims that there was a lack of political will when it came to tackling wrongdoing.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola addresses the media in Pretoria during a virtual Cabinet briefing on 6 August 2020. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said the government was tackling corruption head on.

Lamola was responding to opposition party claims that there was a lack of political will when it came to tackling wrongdoing.

Lamola was speaking in Parliament during the second day of the debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address.

READ: Cabinet pledges support to authorities probing COVID-19 fraud and corruption

The minister said the fusion centre put together to oversee investigations into corruption linked to COVID-19 has handled 231 cases to date.

“Thirty cases were closed after investigation and 31 accused persons are appearing in 14 criminal cases and courts across the country. Lies of those who are saying there are no arrests are exposed by these cases – there is work that is being done and corruption is being tackled head on.”

Lamola says R145.6 million in 72 bank accounts had been blocked by the financial intelligence centre.

“R192 million has been preserved by the Asset Forfeiture unit through the prevention of Organised Crime Act. The Special Investigating Unit has to date enrolled cases in the Special Tribunal to the value of R365 million and has to date saved R124 million involving supply chain irregularities.”

READ: SIU lays criminal charges against 3 firms linked to Gauteng COVID-19 corruption

Lamola said Sars had recovered R165 million in taxes – while more than 12 referrals were sent to departments for disciplinary actions for employees involved in irregularities.

“It is therefore a lie that there is no action that has been taken against those who have found to have committed irregularities during this COVID-19 disaster period. The government is tackling head on whoever has been involved. Whether it’s an official in a department, whether it’s people in the private sector, whoever you are, you are being followed.”

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