Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
30 Sep 2021
7:00 pm

EC education dept official and family members arrested in PPE scandal

Citizen Reporter

Alinani Trading was paid more than R2.7 million for the supply and delivery of PPE in schools.

Steps are now being taken to either recover money or to take action against those accused of wrongdoing. Photo: iStock

A senior Eastern Cape Education Department official and her family members have been arrested for the alleged irregular awarding of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tenders.

Nandipha Tembo, her husband Theophilus Tawanda Tembo, and brother Mandilakhe Mgwangqa appeared in the Zwelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of fraud and corruption.

Alinani Trading was paid more than R2.7 million for the supply and delivery of PPE in schools.

Further investigations revealed that Alinani was paid over R4 million between 2018 and 2020 for tenders that were also irregularly awarded.

The SIU successfully applied to the Special Tribunal to have the bank accounts of Alinani frozen and interdicted the department from making any further payments to them in October 2020.

The SIU has also instituted civil proceedings in the Special Tribunal to review and set aside the tender.

It’s now going after Alinani to recover the financial losses suffered by the State.

The SIU has since referred the matter to the National Prosecuting Authority and Hawks for further action.

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The SIU is probing nearly half of the government’s entire PPE spend. That amount is believed to be close to R14.2 billion.

Last year, after a spate of PPE-related corruption, President Cyril Ramaphosa tasked the unit to investigate Covid-19 related crime.

SIU chief legal counsel Jerome Wells said 69 matters had been issued in the Special Tribunal, with a total value of R7 billion.

With regards to PPE corruption, there were 15 matters worth R365 million. Mothibi said they were pleased with the tribunal’s work so far.

Since February, the SIU has been busy when Mothibi informed the media of their progress in investigating the “insatiable pursuit of self-enrichment” demonstrated by PPE corruption.

According to National Treasury, state entities spent R30.7 billion on PPE procurement between April and November last year.

(Compiled by Narissa Subramoney)