SIU: We’re on course to recover R614m related to COVID PPE corruption

The unit has on Wednesday briefed Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts on the investigations.

FILE: SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi. Picture: @RSASIU/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Wednesday said it was on course to recover R614 million related to COVID-19 PPE corruption.

The unit has on Wednesday briefed Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on the investigations.

The SIU has also touched on a probe into PPE corruption involving former Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku.

It said PPE expenditure from April last year to March this year stood at R126 billion.

Of that amount, the SIU is investigating R14.3 billion or just over 11%.

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SIU head Andy Mothibi told Scopa they were about to recover hundreds of millions: “R614.3 million that’s already been referred to the Special Tribunal in order to set aside the contracts and ultimately recover the losses.”

On investigations involving political leaders, Mothibi said it appeared persons in positions of authority within provincial governments believed the declaration of a national State of Disaster meant all procurement was now automatically conducted on an “emergency” basis and without compliance.

“We are of the view that there is a certain standard that is required of the executive authority to exercise the oversight over the department.”

WITNESSES FEARFUL OF COMING FORWARD

The SUI has revealed some witnesses in its probe into COVID-19 related corruption are fearful and have asked for protection.

Just over 4,000 COVID-19 related services are currently under investigation by the SIU.

These contracts were awarded to 2,251 service providers.

Mothibi said pursuing individuals and companies required witnesses, but they were fear to come forward.

“So, it is very important that I single out these ones simply because we depend on these witnesses to bring evidence forward. And if they are not protected and assured of their protection and the credibility of their process, our investigations are likely to be negatively affected.”

Giving a provincial breakdown, Mothibi said Gauteng had the most cases.

Mothibi said all PPE related investigations should be complete by August.

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