SIU has completed 40% of its Covid-19 PPE probes, but more cases pour

27 May 2021 - 20:18 By andisiwe makinana
SIU head Andy Mothibi told Scopa that evidence was being destroyed as it investigated PPE fraud. File picture.
SIU head Andy Mothibi told Scopa that evidence was being destroyed as it investigated PPE fraud. File picture.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Special Investigating Unit head advocate Andy Mothibi says the unit has concluded 40% of the 4,117 Covid-19 related cases it has been investigating since last year.

Details of these cases are included in the unit's latest Covid-19 report, submitted to President Cyril Ramaphosa last month, he said.

Mothibi said the concluded 40% of investigations involved 835 service providers and 1,071 contracts awarded to service provides valued at just more than R5.7bn. Of those 1,071 contracts, irregularities were identified in 352 cases (31%) involving 247 service providers and contracts to the value of R1.78bn.

Mothibi said investigations involving 2,695 contracts and valued around R7.6bn were ongoing.

Earlier this year, the SIU had set itself a deadline of August 2021 to complete all the Covid-19 related investigations.

Mothibi said the unit continued to receive new allegations of wrongdoing regarding Covid-19 PPE procurement.

By the nature of our business, we can't close out new allegations from being reported,” he said.

The total value of Covid-19 related investigations was R14.3bn as at April 30, involving 2,251 service providers and 4,117 contracts.

He said 38 cases have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority.

With regards to the irregular communication tender at the national department of health involving Digital Vibes, Mothibi revealed that he has already given instructions to the SIU legal team to appoint counsel who will put together the necessary papers to go to the Special Tribunal.

“Our chief legal counsel would by yesterday have actioned the process to appoint counsel to be briefed,” he said.

The process to go to the Special Tribunal would be finalised in the next two weeks or so.

“We should be in the Special Tribunal with various prayers, the first being the cancellation of contracts, and also try to get freezing of assets orders but that will all depend on the evidence we get.

“Immediately when evidence is uncovered, we do go to the Special Tribunal for litigation purposes and this we do in all the investigations,” he said.