SIU probes allegations of at least R3bn graft around R500bn social relief fund

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To date, 20 allegations of serious maladministration, fraud and corruption have been reported to the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says fraudulent and corrupt tendencies have been creeping in, with the intention to illegally benefit from the R500 billion social relief and containment fund allocated to ease the impact of Covid-19.

To date, 20 allegations of serious maladministration, fraud and corruption have been reported to the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum (HSACF), SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement on Thursday.

The HSACF’s responsibility is to fight fraud and corruption in the health sector, in collaboration with various stakeholders, such as civil society, health sector regulators, law enforcement agencies and government departments.

The government allocated the money to ease the impact of the virus on the economy and the livelihood of citizens.

“In this regard, the HSACF has prioritised all allegations of fraud and corruption related to Covid-19,” Kganyago said.

“The HSACF is interfacing with various stakeholders to combat Covid-19 fraud,” he said.

Kganyago said the majority of the investigations are at an advanced stage.

He said criminal referrals have been made for prosecutions, and disciplinary referrals have been made to accounting officers.

Civil action, to the value of R10.6 million, has been instituted against implicated officials, he said.

More than 70 lifestyle audits are being conducted on implicated officials and 147 investigations have been completed on unlawfully registered health professionals, he said.

“There are currently 45 health sector related cases that are at an advance stage of investigation by the Directorate for Priority Crime and Investigations. Fifteen of those cases are on the court roll, five cases are pending decisions, while 25 are pending investigations by DPCI. The total amount of these 45 cases amount to more than R3 billion.”

Kganyago said health sector cases, amounting to the value of R150 million, are currently on the court roll.

Meanwhile, the Asset Forfeiture Unit had recently obtained orders of more than R3 million.

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