Ramaphosa probes theft of Covid-19 funds

Ramaphosa probes theft of Covid-19 funds
HANGMAN: President Cyril Ramaphosa has responded to the public outcry over the blatant corruption taking place around Covid-19 PPE tenders, instructing the SIU to report back to him every six weeks regarding each case. PICTURE BY GCIS

He said the allegations are very disturbing.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has directed the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to probe allegations of theft of Covid-19 funds levelled against his government.

He said the stealing of this money was concerning and he had now asked the SIU to investigate thoroughly – and bring the culprits for prosecution as well as recovering the stolen money.

Ramaphosa said that said already 36 cases of Covid-19 funds are currently being investigated.

It was concerning that funds intended for personal protective equipment were being stolen, he said, and had now asked that the SIU give him report every 6 weeks on progress made in each and every case.

This involves the overpricing of goods intended to fight the pandemic.

He said the Competition Commission has investigated over 800 cases of overpricing by companies since lockdown began at the end of March 2020.

He added 28 companies have already been found guilty and fines totalling R16 million paid.

“If the SIU finds evidence that a criminal offence has been committed, it is obliged to refer such evidence to the NPA,” the President said.

“It is also empowered to institute civil proceedings for the recovery of any damages or losses incurred by the state.

“To ensure that action is taken speedily, I will be getting interim reports on investigations every 6 weeks,” Ramaphosa said.

Part of the stakeholders that have been brought in are the Hawks, police and the Financial Intelligence Centre as well as the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

“We are determined that every instance of alleged corruption must be thoroughly investigated, that those responsible for wrongdoing should be prosecuted and that all monies stolen or overpriced are recovered,” he said.

(edited by MLM)

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