Hawks probe into fraud and corruption case against Digital Vibes bosses 'at an early stage'

13 June 2021 - 11:49 By suthentira govender
Tahera Mather with health minister Zweli Mkhize. File photo
Tahera Mather with health minister Zweli Mkhize. File photo
Image: Supplied

Evidence gathered from a thorough investigation will decide if any arrests are to be effected in the fraud and corruption case lodged against two Digital Vibes bosses — the company at the centre of a R150m health department scandal implicating minister Zweli Mkhize.

This is according to Hawks spokesperson Col Katlego Mogale, who said the probe is at an “early stage and continuing”.

Mkhize was placed on special leave by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week after allegations that the health department irregularly awarded a communication contract to Digital Vibes, a company run by close associates of his.

He reiterated that he played no role in the awarding of the contract and there was no personal benefit in this regard.

The company is alleged to have inflated its prices. Some of the money paid to it was also allegedly transferred to Mkhize's son, Dedani, and some was allegedly used to pay for renovations at one of Mkhize's homes.

Two weeks ago the Sunday Times revealed that there was a fallout between Mkhize's two associates, Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha — who have been running Digital Vibes — with the company's director Radha Hariram.

Hariram opened a case of fraud against the two.

According to the charge: “It is alleged that the company received a tender from the department of health around November 2019. The complainant contacted Tahera Mather and Nadira [sic] Mitha for assistant [sic] to carry out the work as they have the required skills. During March 2020 complainant was ill and could not work and gave both assistants passwords and pins as she trusted them.”

She later discovered alleged “unlawful transactions”, and a forensic team traced disbursements made to Mather and Mitha's families without her knowledge.

Mogale said in a statement: “The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation can confirm that a case of fraud and corruption was registered at Norwood SAPS and transferred to the National Serious Corruption Investigation unit for further probe.

“The investigation is at an early stage and continuing. Since the process is guided by evidence, it is prudent that evidentiary leads are thoroughly investigated, therefore not pre-empt timelines in relation to arrests. 

“As and when all evidence important to the investigation is concluded, then and only then will arrests be effected.”