South Africa

SIU probing nearly half of government’s entire PPE spend

Last year, after a spate of PPE-related corruption, President Cyril Ramaphosa tasked the SIU to investigate Covid-19 related corruption.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is probing alleged corrupt personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts worth R14.2 billion – close to half of the money spent by government on PPE procurement.

SIU head Andy Mothibi told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services on Tuesday that they had made “significant progress and impact” in investigating PPE fraud.

While investigating, new matters were being reported. At the end of April, 6% of the investigations on PPE fraud still needed to be started.

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SIU chief legal counsel Jerome Wells said 69 matters had been issued in the Special Tribunal, with a total value of R7 billion. With regards to PPE corruption, there were 15 matters worth R365 million. Mothibi said they were pleased with the tribunal’s work.

Last year, after a spate of PPE related corruption, President Cyril Ramaphosa tasked the SIU to investigate Covid-19 related corruption.

Mothibi also lauded their cooperation with the National Prosecuting Authority, the Hawks and the fusion centre – comprising all law enforcement agencies.

The SIU has clearly been busy since February, when Mothibi informed the media of their progress in investigating the “insatiable pursuit of self-enrichment” demonstrated by PPE corruption.

At the time, the SIU still needed to commence 851 out of 2 556 investigations, or 33%.

In February, the SIU was investigating contracts worth R13.3 billion – it is now R900 million more.

According to National Treasury, state entities spent R30.7 billion on PPE procurement between April and November last year.

Jan Gerber

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