SIU welcomes dismissal of top health official for PPE tender irregularities
The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Monday welcomed the dismissal of senior Gauteng health official, Thandy Pino for her involvement in the irregular award of personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts worth more than R330m.
The SIU last year investigated allegations of maladministration in the appointment of service providers by the department to supply PPE and related goods and services in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The SIU said it was alleged Royal Bhaca Projects (Pty) Ltd was irregularly awarded a contract worth R125m from the Gauteng health department to supply PPE due to its director’s proximity to then health MEC Bandile Masuku.
Another allegation was that Ledla Structural Development, a company with links to Royal Bhaca, was appointed by the provincial health department to provide PPE for R139m.
It was also alleged that Beadica 423 cc was awarded a contract to supply PPE worth R68.5m by the provincial health department.
The SIU said its investigation into the award of contracts by the department to Royal Bhaca, Ledla and Beadica revealed proper procurement processes were not followed by former CFO Kabelo Lehloenya and Pino, the chief director of supply chain and asset management.
Lehloenya resigned when the allegations surfaced.
The SIU was granted a preservation order by the Special Tribunal to freeze Lehloenya's pension benefits pending the finalisation of civil action against her.
The SIU referred to the Gauteng health department evidence in support of the institution of disciplinary action against Pino for alleged contraventions of, among others, the supply chain management policies of the department and her failure to adhere to the code of conduct of the public service.
The department instituted disciplinary charges against Pino and the SIU provided evidence and support at the disciplinary hearing.
“The SIU was informed that Ms Pino was found guilty on the disciplinary charges and a sanction of dismissal was made.
“The SIU welcomes the sanction meted against Ms Pino for her involvement in the irregular awarding of PPE contracts to Royal Bhaca, Ledla and Beadica,” said SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.
Kganyago said the action by the Gauteng health department was a clear demonstration of implementation of SIU referrals for disciplinary action.