The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) still has to recover R14m from Ledla Structural, money which was irregularly awarded through a R139m personal protective equipment (PPE) contract by the Gauteng Health Department, according to a TimesLIVE report. Though the SIU had managed to stop R100m from being paid, Ledla still received R39m from the department. The unit has so far managed to recoup R24m from Ledla, leaving it with an outstanding R14m.
The report says this emerged when the SIU appeared before Scopa in Parliament. SIU head Advocate Andy Mothibi told the committee that they would go back to the Special Tribunal judgment to find out what the ruling was on the remaining millions.
The Special Tribunal found that Ledla, which was irregularly awarded a multimillion-rand contract, was used as a proxy of Royal Bhaca, which was originally awarded the contact. The contract was initially awarded to Royal Bhaca, owned by Chief Madzikane II Thandisizwe Diko, the husband of former presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko, which was said to have used Ledla as its proxy once allegations of corruption and possible conflict of interest arose.
“There’s that R14m gap and I was reaching out to our legal team because it can only be from the judgment that they draw the rationale of why this gap,” Mothibi told Scopa. “So I'd like our legal team to look at that and possibly at the end of the session we can provide an explanation.”
The SIU is investigating contracts worth R13bn around the country which were alleged to have been riddled with corruption and fraud. Mothibi told Scopa that as of 25 November, 26%, or 164, of these investigations had been concluded, which translated to R3.5bn.
Mothibi also pleaded for more funding. He told MPs the large-scale investigations into COVID-19-related irregularities had put such strain on the unit’s finances and resources that important investigations into state-owned companies such as Eskom, SAA, Transnet and Denel had almost ground to a halt, notes Die Burger.
“We were forced to complete these investigations (into COVID-19 procurement) as soon as possible because people’s lives were in danger and it was in the public interest.”
Mothibi said the SIU would approach Treasury for additional funding as its budgets had been cut as had other government institutions while its workload had increased exponentially. “We are continuing to reach out to the National Treasury as COVID-19 created an unexpected deadlock and we had to reprioritise our resources,” he is quoted in Die Burger as saying.
Scopa has, meanwhile, vowed to prioritise the series of reports by the SIU on its PPE procurement investigations in a bid to ensure that those implicated are prosecuted speedily. The latest report, in which the unit referred 38 cases to the NPA involving fraud, corruption and contravening supply chain management policies, has been formally tabled in Parliament.
“A number of issues emanating from the report require Scopa’s urgent attention and the committee has resolved to prioritise these matters. Scopa is aware that these are ongoing reports, which the SIU will release periodically as their investigation procedure dictates,” said committee spokesperson Faith Ndenze, according to TimesLIVE.
“This means that the committee will be engaged in a process of following up with the relevant structures to ensure there are speedy prosecutions and other consequence management processes for those who are implicated.”
The SIU had instituted civil matters at the Special Tribunal to the value of R259m for review, which includes the recovery of state funds in relation to corrupt activities associated with the State of Disaster.
The proceedings before the Special Tribunal also include the freezing of the pensions of officials who resigned from their positions while investigations were under way. The rand value of actual cash and/or assets recovered by 4 February was R127m, according to Mothibi.
Full TimesLIVE report (Open access)
Full report in Die Burger (Restricted access)
Full TimesLIVE report (Open access)
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