Eastern Cape health official in court for 'forging signature' on R23m tender
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the prosecution of an Eastern Cape health department messenger on charges relating to a personal protective equipment (PPE) tender worth more than R23m.
Ayanda Matinise, a messenger in the office of the MEC, appeared in the Mthatha specialised commercial crime court on Thursday on charges of fraud, forgery and uttering.
He was released on R1,000 bail and the matter was remanded to August 31 for trial.
In a statement, the SIU said the prosecution of Matinise by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) follows an intensive investigation conducted by the SIU in the health department which uncovered evidence pointing to criminal activity, in particular fraud and forgery.
The SIU said its investigation revealed Matinise allegedly forged the signature of the director of supply chain and awarded a tender to a service provider for supply and delivery of PPE. The service provider was to deliver N95 masks worth R23.4m to OR Tambo district health department offices.
“The service provider submitted invoices for payment to be effected after delivering the masks. However, no payment was made as the procurement committee knew nothing about the awarding of such tender.
“The service provider was then requested to bring the award letter. It was discovered the content of the award letter, including signatures, was fraudulent.”
The SIU said it referred the evidence to the NPA and to the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (the Hawks) for further attention, as required by the SIU Act.
In 2020 the SIU was directed in terms of Proclamation R23 of to investigate the procurement of or contracting for PPE services in response to the Covid-19 pandemic by state institutions and payments made in respect thereof.
The SIU said the Matinise matter is one of many PPE matters referred to the NPA and Hawks for further action.
“The SIU is working closely with the NPA and Hawks in this regard and we will continue to work together to ensure all role players identified through our investigations in the alleged PPE crimes are held accountable.”
In August last year, Matinise was charged with breaching national lockdown regulations, driving an unauthorised state vehicle, driving under the influence of alcohol and attempted bribery of police.