More arrests expected in Gauteng health tender fraud case

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The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says more arrests are imminent in the Gauteng Health Department’s R1.2 billion tender fraud case.

Four former senior government officials have been granted bail at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, east of Johannesburg.

The officials were arrested for alleged tender irregularities believed to have taken place in the Gauteng Health Department in 2007.

They allegedly received kickbacks after awarding a lucrative contract to a private company.

After a lengthy investigation and many reports about allegations of corruption in the Gauteng Health Department between 2006 and 2010 – a 2018 SIU report found that almost a dozen officials and companies were complicit in corruption and fraudulent deals.

The four former officials are among those accused of money laundering, fraud and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema says, “This is where we allege that either there was corruption in those companies, either there was conflict of interest when those companies were appointed. Secondly, there was no open competitive bidding when it happened.”

“Further than those deviations were made, the award was not supposed to have gone through given the fact that the MEC of Finance at the time had indicated that this contract of R1.2 billion could not be awarded because there were no funds for it. However, the officials that appeared in court, went ahead and signed contract service agreements against instructions not to proceed,” explains Ngwema.

Ngwema says some of the officials received money and a house from the companies that were awarded these tenders.

“They went on to further add more work, meaning more money to the state, R233 million … for furniture. Amounts that were not budgeted for. A contract that was not supposed to be awarded given the fact that there was no money in the fiscus. Further, there was money from these companies that went to these officials. They bought them furniture, they renovated and bought them houses up to R1 million,” adds Ngwema.

The video below, is reporting on the arrest and granting of bail:

Those who appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court are the former Head of Department and Accounting Officer Sybil Ngcobo, former Chief Director of Information and Communications Technology Mmakgosi Mosupi, former Director of Supply Chain Management Valdis Romaano, and former Deputy Director-General Obakeng Mookeletsi.

Ngwema says, “There are 8 accused which includes 2 companies. There were other officials, senior in the Health Department. This is one part of a big investigation.”

When asked if former Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa would also be arrested, Ngwenya says they cannot mention any names as investigations are still ongoing.

“It’s never advisable for the prosecution or the investigation to mention who are the next suspects unless you have a warrant. We could not execute some of the warrants because two of the suspects are out of the country. The matter is not done, this is one part of a complicated investigation. No one is completely off the hook. I cannot confirm anybody who is not on today’s indictment,” says Ngwema.

Ngcobo was granted R8000 bail while Mosupi, Ramaano and Mooleletsi were granted R25 000d bail each.

They are expected back in court on the 3rd of December.

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