SIU wants to freeze pensions of ex-Gauteng officials implicated in Diko contract

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The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is currently investigating fraud and corruption linked to COVID-19 procurement of more than R10.5 billion.

FILE: Former Gauteng Health Department’s Prof Mkhululi Lukhele at a media briefing on 23 May 2020. Picture: @GautengHealth/Twitter

CAPE TOWN – The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is currently investigating fraud and corruption linked to COVID-19 procurement of more than R10.5 billion.

That represents 67% of the R15.6bn spent so far by the government to fight the pandemic.

Dodgy contracts to the value of R223 million are already before the SIU’s special tribunal, which fast-tracks civil proceedings.

Meanwhile, the Hawks said that they were investigating 154 cases related to COVID-19 corruption and expected to make further arrests on Thursday.

The SIU, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) appeared before Parliament’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on Tuesday to update on their progress.

SIU head Andy Mothibi highlighted cases already before the special tribunal.

He said that summons had been issued against former Gauteng Health Department CFO Karabo Lehloenya and former head of department, Professor Mkhululi Lukhele. This is to recover R43m after irregularities were found in contracts linked to companies involving Thandisizwe Diko, the husband of Presidency spokesperson, Khusela Diko. The unit wants the R139m contract set aside and also wants the former officials’ pensions frozen.

“It sends the right message out there, that even if you resign, thinking that there will not be consequence management, we will have recourse to some of your pension monies.”

The motorcycle sidecar scandal in the Eastern Cape is also before the special tribunal, and the provincial Department of Health has been interdicted from making the R10m payment for the vehicles.

Mothibi said that parties involved in the Beit Bridge border fence scandal appeared before the tribunal last Friday, where an application was made to have contracts of R41m issued by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure declared invalid and set aside.

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