President Cyril Ramaphosa has received the final report of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) into allegations of corruption by parties in the public and private sectors in the procurement of personal protective equipment at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Presidency is studying the report and will keep the public abreast of developments in this matter.
“The Presidency will do so in a manner that preserves information that may be or become the subject of prosecution, civil action or disciplinary proceedings,” said the presidency spokesperson, Tyrone Seale.
The probe has revealed that the procurement of COVID-19 related goods and services was characterised by flagrant and wanton disregard of the applicable law, policies and procedures.
However, intervention by the government agency saw the splurge reigned in and millions of Rands being recouped through civil litigation, while criminal charges have been laid against the implicated.
It is expected the SIU report will contain information on matters that have been referred to the National Prosecutions Authority for prosecution; matters that have been referred to relevant departments or entities for disciplinary steps to be taken against their employees, and what monies have been recouped by the SIU.
“The SIU is empowered in law to take these steps in the course of its work and as soon as it deems fit,” said Seale.
According to data from National Treasury, R30.7 billion was spent by State institutions between April and November 2020.
Of this, R13.3 billion was subject to the SIU investigation.
Since then, the SIU has made 25 referrals for disciplinary hearings for government officials for misconduct and SCM contravention.
Two executive authorities – a Gauteng MEC and an office bearer in a Mpumalanga municipalities – were also referred for administrative action.
A senior Gauteng Department of Health official for her role in the PPE corruption case in the province.
Part of the allegations received stated that Royal Bhaca Projects was irregularly awarded a contract to the value of R125 million by the GDoH to supply various PPE items due to its Director’s close proximity to the MEC of GDoH, Dr Bandile Masuku.
It was also alleged that Ledla Structural Development (PTY) Ltd, a company with links to Royal Bhaca, was appointed by the GDoH to provide PPE to the value of R139 million.
Another aspect to be investigated was that the department awarded Beadica 423 cc a R68 million PPE contract. Included in the products to supply were surgical masks, N95 face masks and FFP2 face masks.
An SIU investigation revealed that proper procurement processes were not followed in awarding contracts to the three entities by Chief Financial Officer, Kabelo Lehloenya and Pino.
The SIU also recommended that criminal and disciplinary action be taken against a Mpumalanga CoGTA official for their role in the awarding of a R5.5 million PPE tender.