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By Citizen Reporter


PPE corruption: SIU freezes pension payout to former Limpopo health head

The SIU investigations have uncovered irregularities in the appointment of service providers for the supply and delivery of PPE items.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has obtained a preservation order from the Special Tribunal to freeze pension benefits of former Limpopo Department of Health’s Head of Department, Dr Thokozani Florence Mhlongo.

The Special Tribunal order restrained the Government Employees Pension Fund from paying out any benefits due to Dr Mhlongo, pending the final determination of civil proceedings for recovery of damages or losses suffered by the department by profit derived from unlawful contracts and secret profits.

ALSO READ: SANDF officials in hot water for PPE fraud

The SIU approached the Special Tribunal after Dr Mhlongo resigned with immediate effect in June 2022, in the face of a disciplinary hearing, which emanated from SIU investigations in the affairs of the department relating to the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) in response to Covid-19 pandemic.

Irregular procurement of PPE results in R182 million wasteful expenditure

The SIU investigations have uncovered irregularities in the appointment of service providers Clinipro Pty Ltd, Pro Secure Pty Ltd, and Ndia Business Trading (Pty) Ltd for the supply and delivery of PPE items, which resulted in the department incurring irregular expenditure and/or a fruitless and wasteful expenditure of approximately R182 million.

R10 million ‘wasted’ on cellphones

Furthermore, the SIU investigation revealed that Dr Mhlongo, as the accounting officer, allegedly exposed the department to a wasteful expenditure when she authorised the procurement and payment for 10 000 cellphones to the value of R10 million for Covid-19 household screening.

The department could only manage to distribute 388 of the 10 000 cellphones between September 2020 and March 2021, and the cellphones were distributed without the required screening application, the SIU investigation revealed.

NOW READ: PPE corruption report: Gauteng the worst offender

9588 cellphones distributed without health app installed

After the physical counting of cellphones in storage by SIU investigators in March 2021, the department distributed 9588 cellphones to community health workers for Covid-19 vaccination without the required application installed.

The SIU welcomed the preservation order granted by the Special Tribunal. This is a continuation of the implementation of the SIU investigation outcomes and consequence management to recover assets and financial losses suffered by State institutions and/or to prevent further losses.

The SIU will continue to pursue officials who resign in the face of an investigation or in the face of a disciplinary action by freezing their pension benefits and institute civil litigation to recover financial losses suffered by state institutions.

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