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NHLS executives suspended following PwC audit

The National Health Laboratory Service has suspended its chief financial officer, supply chain head and an unspecified number of other officials after a PricewaterhouseCoopers audit implicated them in procurement misconduct linked to personal protective equipment, reports Maverick Citizen.

National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) chairperson Professor Eric Buch said he was not in a position to share an investigative report that led to the suspension of senior employees. “At this point only the board has it and we are still preparing disciplinary cases,” said Bloch.

Maverick Citizen understands that CFO Michael Sass and head of supply chain management Tlangelani Mabundza were suspended two weeks ago, but an official statement was released only after several media outlets became aware of the situation.

The statement said the NHLS had conducted an internal audit on the emergency procurement and thereafter had resolved to engage the services of PwC to conduct a forensic investigation. Following this, the Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) requested information from the NHLS regarding transactions involving the procurement of PPE during the March-April 2020 period.

The PwC forensic investigation covered six companies identified by the DPCI as well as individuals at the NHLS who were directly involved with PPE procurement.

“Disciplinary proceedings have been instituted against individuals who were identified in the PwC report as having prima facie committed misconduct,” the statement said.

“The officials concerned were suspended pending disciplinary inquiries. The suspended officials include the head of supply chain management and other staff in supply chain and the chief financial officer of the NHLS.

“In the interests of expediting justice, the board further resolved to share the PwC report and the associated legal opinion with the DPCI and the Special Investigating Unit (SIU),” the statement said.

 

[link url="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-12-03-national-health-laboratory-service-bosses-suspended-after-ppe-procurement-probe/"]Full Maverick Citizen report[/link]

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