Special Investigating Unit (SIU) head of investigations Leonard Lekgetho has told the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) that his unit is, among other cases, investigating the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development’s alleged irregular procurement during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which saw some officials suspended including the department’s acting head Sbu Ngubane.
Lekgetho appeared before Scopa on the terms of reference relating to the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Gauteng province has seen Health MEC Bandile Masuku and his wife Group Corporate and Shared Services MMC Counsellor Loyiso Masuku as well as presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko take leave pending a probe into the multimillion-rand deal to supply PPE to the Gauteng Health Department.
“In Gauteng, we are looking at the Department of Health and currently we are looking at 157 matters amounting to R2.2-billion,” Lekgetho said.
He said the contracts kept on increasing.
He said in the North West province his unit was looking into the procurement of sanitizers and PPE, abuse of petrol cards for Covid-19-related travel, distribution of food parcels and procurement of temperature guns.
In Mpumalanga he reported that his unit was looking into the irregular procurement of KN95 masks, masks provided which did not meet the required standard, irregularity in regards to distribution of Covid-19-related funds and irregular distribution of food parcels.
“In Limpopo we are looking at irregular awards of contracts to eight service providers who were not on the panel of contractors for the municipality but were appointed by the municipality on 23 June 2020 to perform Covid-19 Disaster Management Project Emergency Interventions,” he added.
He said in the Western Cape the unit was investigating bid manipulation and leaked bid documents, sale of fraudulent hand sanitizers, irregular procurement processes, procurement of neurological microscope equipment and the procurement of food parcels.
The national departments were also being investigated for irregular processes followed, awarding of contracts to officials and friends, Unemployment Insurance Fund irregularities, supply of water tanks to schools, and irregularities in the installation of the Beitbridge border post fence.
SIU chief legal counsel Dr Jerome Wells said the project was operating across the country and each region has its own focus area.
He said in each region, the SIU expects the lawyer assigned to the matter to identify potential instances requiring civil litigation.
“When a lawyer in a region has identified a potential civil matter, such a lawyer must prepare a motivation for the institution of civil litigation and submit such motivation to the civil litigation division of the SIU,” said Wells.
SIU head Andrew Mothibi said his unit was going to make sure that all those embroiled in the corruption were be investigated as a matter of urgency.