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HomeMedico-LegalSIU has 'not a shred of evidence' against Gauteng Health MEC

SIU has 'not a shred of evidence' against Gauteng Health MEC

The Special Investigating Unit's (SIU) findings against former Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku are not supported by a shred of evidence, his legal team argued during a virtual sitting of the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), reports News24. “We are here to show the court that the findings it made is not supported by a shred of evidence. The court must scrutinise that,” Advocate William Mokhari SC said.

Mokhari was arguing before a full Bench – consisting of Judges Roland Sutherland, Thina Siwendu and Joseph Raulinga – during the hearing of Masuku's review application of the SIU's findings relating to alleged personal protective equipment (PPE) corruption.

This, after the preliminary SIU report placed Masuku at the centre of processes in the provincial Health Department that saw the husband of Presidency spokesperson, Khusela Diko, receiving a R125m tender to supply PPE. The Dikos are family friends. Gauteng Premier David Makhura removed Masuku based on the SIU preliminary report which found that “he failed to execute his function in compliance with Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act”.

Mokhari argued the SIU simply relied on one source.

“According to the affidavit, the IO (investigating officer) is relying on what (suspended supply chain chief director, Thandy) Pino has said – what we expect from the SIU is to inquire from the relevant people, that they never did. In such circumstances, one has to conclude that the SIU is not permitted to simply rely on the say-so of one person when it has all the opportunity to verify what it has been told from the sources available. That is what we are saying,” he explained, arguing the SIU’s conclusion against Masuku was irrational.

 

The SIU struck back, arguing Masuku's denial of knowledge of corrupt, unlawful and irregular procurement of PPE is self-serving. “Having regard to his constitutional and statutory duties, I respectfully submit that the applicant's denial of knowledge of corrupt, unlawful and improper procurement by, and in the provincial department, is simply unfounded and impermissibly self-serving,” SIU forensic investigator Asashanduki Rabali said in an affidavit, according to a second News24 report.

Rabali said the MEC was responsible for exercising executive authority and the oversight affairs of the provincial department, including its emergency procurement of PPE. The forensic investigator added it was clear – from the version of the CFO – that reports of public procurement of PPE were furnished to the applicant on an ongoing basis.

In addition, Rabali said the reports were furnished to the provincial command council after it took the decision to centralise the procurement of PPE within the provincial department. “The duties of the applicant in that regard were heightened by the fact that he knew the procurement of PPE was on an emergency basis, which is notoriously abused and is a hot-bed of corrupt and unlawful procurement, and that his department was weakened in its supply chain and asset management capacity to manage a huge scale procurement of the kind,” Rabali claimed.

The forensic investigator submitted that the review sought was merely an attempt by the applicant to procure a reinstatement to the office of MEC, without “accepting responsibility and accountability for acts of corrupt, unlawful and improper procurement which took place under his watch in the order of R2bn in just six months”.

 

TimesLIVE reports that Masuku has been languishing at home after being suspended by the ANC and axed from the Gauteng cabinet, after a SIU report on a corruption scandal at the Health Department found that he had failed in his duty to conduct oversight of spending on PPE tenders.

A legal review application document drafted by Masuku’s lawyer, Mojalefa Motalane, states: “Our client strongly believes that accountability, equality before the law and transparency are some of the values on which our democracy was founded. It ought therefore not matter who a person, natural or justice, is – whenever the need arises to breathe life into these values.”

Masuku further argues that “even those tasked with the erroneous and knotty task of investigating irregularities, malfeasance and corruption must, when it becomes necessary, be scrutinised to ensure that their actions live up to the standard expected by the Constitution and the laws that establish them”.

 

[link url="https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/bandile-masukus-legal-team-argues-siu-findings-not-supported-by-a-shred-of-evidence-20210121"]Full News24 report[/link]

 

[link url="https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/masuku-denying-he-had-knowledge-of-irregular-ppe-procurement-is-self-serving-siu-argues-20210121"]Full News24 report[/link]

 

[link url="https://www.timeslive.co.za/politics/2021-01-20-legal-showdown-between-bandile-masuku-and-siu-set-for-thursday/"]Full TimesLIVE report[/link]

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