The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the arrest of six people in Mpumalanga for fraud, corruption and money laundering in connection with the procurement of Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) in the Mpumalanga Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport.
The accused are three government officials employed by the provincial department and the other three are suppliers who won the tender.
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The six were arrested last week, by the Hawks and appeared in the Nelspruit Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday after they allegedly defrauded the State of R1.38 million by submitting deceitful claims for services that were never provided.
They were released on bail of R10 000 each.
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The group was nabbed after SIU investigations uncovered evidence of fraud, corruption and money laundering between the officials and service providers, amounting to approximately R1.3 million.
“Furthermore, the SIU investigation found that there was fraudulent invoicing for services not rendered and inflation of kilometres claimed.
“In an instance where service providers were contracted to do fumigations, there was fraudulent inflation of square metres claimed, which resulted in the Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport paying more than what it should have.
“In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, the SIU referred evidence pointing to criminal conduct to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
“The six were charged with giving a benefit or accepting a benefit, which is a corruption charge. They were also charged with money laundering and fraud,” SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement.
The SIU investigation falls under Proclamation R23 of 2020, which was authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa, for the SIU to investigate all Covid-19-related contracts in all state institutions in respect of the procurement or contracting for goods, works and services, during, or in respect of the National State of Disaster, by or on behalf of state institutions.
The case against the six accused is expected to return to court on 2 November 2022.
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