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Covid procurement corruption: SIU submits ‘supplement...

Maverick Citizen

PANDEMIC GRAFT

Net tightens as SIU submits ‘supplementary report’ on Covid-19 procurement corruption to president

Last year Maverick Citizen carried out a detailed investigation into Red Roses Africa (Pty) Ltd, a curious company who scored over R500 million for the supply of sanitiser and masks. (llustrative image | Sources: Red Roses Africa director Blessing Qwabe. (Photos: Supplied) | Gallo Images | William McIntosh | SAPS)

Maverick Citizen has confirmed that on 15 July the Special Investigating Unit submitted a final ‘final’ report on its Covid-19 investigations into possible corruption in procurement. The Presidency has not yet confirmed receipt of the report, or when it will make its findings and recommendations public.

According to SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago, the unit handed a final report on outstanding matters under Proclamation R.23 of 2020 to President Cyril Ramaphosa on 15 July 2022.

This proclamation mandates the SIU to investigate unlawful expenditure on Covid-19. The SIU’s final report to the President was made public in January 2022 and, as Daily Maverick reported at the time, documented how:

“224 government officials have been referred for disciplinary action, 386 people have been referred for prosecution by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and 330 companies have been recommended for blacklisting. The report stems from the investigation of 5,467 contracts awarded to 3,066 service providers. Of these, 62% were found to be irregular.”

However, when it was submitted in late 2021, certain of the SIU’s investigations were incomplete and ongoing, hence this supplementary report.

There were also certain unexplained omissions in the SIU’s investigations, particularly investigations into prima facie evidence of tender irregularities in the South African Police Service (SAPS) possibly amounting to hundreds of millions of rands.

Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya did not answer our request to confirm receipt of the report and when it would be made public.

However, SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi did, pointing out that the time of its publication is the prerogative of the Presidency.

Kganyago was unwilling to elaborate on the contents of the report, even in general terms. However, he did confirm that the SIU has completed investigations into two matters that have been a focus of investigation by Maverick Citizen and around which we continue to raise questions.

Sanitiser and ICUs

The matters, involving expenditure of well over R1-billion, concern procurement of hand sanitiser by the SAPS at a cost of R515-million from a company called Red Roses Africa (Pty) Ltd; and the Gauteng government’s hospital spend in 2020 of more than R1-billion to contractors using alternative building technology (ABT) to construct additional ICU units at four hospitals to prepare for Covid-19 – units that were not completed on time for the first, second or third waves of Covid and which are still incomplete or underused.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “La Vie en Rose: A single Mpumalanga company robbed SAPS of hundreds of millions in Covid-19 PPE tender

According to Kganyago:

“The investigation [into Red Roses Africa] is finalised and we are considering possible civil litigation”; and “investigation [into the five Gauteng hospitals] is finalised, we are awaiting QS (quantity surveyor) report to consider possible civil litigation.”

Given that both of these matters relate to Covid-19 expenditure, and thus should fall under the ambit of R.23, we assume that their findings and recommendations will form part of the supplementary report now in the hands of the President. DM/MC

Gallery

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