SIU report reveals PPE procurement corruption by officials

Picture: @RSASIU, Twitter

Head of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), Advocate Andy Mothibi, says it is disheartening to see officials in spheres of government implicated in illegal activities related to Covid-19 PPE procurement. 

On Friday, Mothibi told the media an investigation has revealed that 25 officials have been implicated in PPE tender irregularities worth millions of rand.

Mothibi said the investigation has revealed that political pressure played a role in the awarding of tenders to particular companies.

He said 189 allegations related to PPE procurement corruption were reported to the SIU.

“The report also found that de-registered companies were awarded tenders worth millions of rand, while in other instances, specifications were ignored and sub-standard quality products delivered. Furthermore, companies that did not qualify for BBBEE points, were awarded tenders,” Mothibi explained.

He said the investigation found that many officials rubber-stamped decisions made by senior officials and failed to ensure that Supply Chain Management (SCM) controls were followed.

Companies not registered on the Central Supplier Database were also awarded contracts and others with no track record were only registered days before the State of National Disaster.

“Our report found that there was no attempt to negotiate with suppliers in bringing prices within the thresholds provided by Treasury. This resulted in over-payment for goods. The Departments lack basic control measures that will establish correct product delivery. In several instances, we found under-delivery of items,” he explained.

Mothiba continued: “There appears to be no verification protocols on supplier registration details. This has resulted in several suppliers claiming VAT when they were not registered with SARS as VAT vendors.”

He said the investigation also revealed how PPE was packed under false or forged labels and suppliers used front companies to obtain multiple contracts.

Mothibi said the SIU has recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the officials who have been implicated.

“If corruption is not tackled by all in society, it has the potential to weaken the State’s capacity to deliver basic services like water, electricity, roads, housing, healthcare and education. I appeal to public servants and those in a position of power and responsibility to serve the people of South Africa with integrity and pride,” he added.