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By News24 Wire

Wire Service


Zondo says PPE corruption reports are ‘frightening’

Zondo's comments came after Smith said there was a public finance management act that 'is very clear on how public funds must be spent and the consequences thereof'.


The chairperson of the state capture commission of inquiry, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has raised concerns about the reported rampant looting in personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement.

“My concern is, it would appear that a lot of people in the country don’t really care about who has what powers when it comes to wrongdoing,” Zondo said during the appearance of ANC MP Vincent Smith who was testifying on Bosasa-related issues on Friday.

Zondo’s comments came after Smith said there was a public finance management act that “is very clear on how public funds must be spent and the consequences thereof”.

Smith added Parliament had given the Auditor-General extensive powers post-2013 wherein he had abilities to raise matters with law enforcement.

“I think that would be a deterrent and no minister will in future, will not want to be found wanting to be referred to the SIU or whatever the case might be. I believe that is the step in the right direction,” he said.

Evidence

But Zondo said the commission had been sitting since 2018, hearing evidence of wrongdoing and corruption.

“You would not think that the kind of corruption that we are told about in regard to PPE would be happening.

“But it is like you say. Nothing will happen so we can just continue as normal, nothing will happen and that may well be people they look around and say ‘what has happened to who?’ – people do things and nothing ever happens. So we will do them, nothing will ever happen.”

He said this was “quite concerning”.

“I mean if what one reads in the media about PPE corruption [it] is frightening.”

Zondo added this was happening at a time when the country had law enforcement agencies who specialised in corruption “but people just don’t care”.

This week, Auditor-General Kimi Makwetu released damning findings on Covid-19 relief funding which details the extent of the rot surrounding PPE tender procurement processes, News24 reported.

His office found clear signs of overpricing, unfair processes and potential fraud in government procurement.

Makwetu said pre-existing deficiencies in the south chain processes of government were applied by the introduction of emergency procurement processes allowed for PPE.

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