Covid-19 thieves will be ‘severely punished’, money recovered, says Mthembu

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu says the government is on a drive to find ways for the country to recover from the devastation caused by Covid-19, crime and corruption. Picture: GCIS

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu says the multidisciplinary fusion centre tasked with dealing with Covid-19 related corruption will deliver its first report to the president next week.

Monies stolen from the state by unscrupulous companies and individuals by inflating the prices of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be recovered.

That’s according to Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu, who briefed the media on Thursday on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held earlier this week.

Mthembu said those implicated in corruption would be severely punished.

“The scourge of corruption, which manifests itself in the blatant theft and looting of state resources, is the biggest societal cancer that has the potential to erode public trust in government’s concerted efforts to improve the lives of the people. Cabinet condemns in the strongest possible terms all acts of corruption and is confident that all wrongdoers will eventually be prosecuted, without fear or favour,” Mthembu said.

Law enforcement agencies had dealt with a flood of Covid-19 PPE tender corruption, most notably in Gauteng, where several high-ranking ANC politicians and their family members scored big tenders.

Mthembu said Cabinet would give the necessary support to all law-enforcement agencies.

“This will include giving them the resources they need to function optimally, independently without fear, favour and prejudice in facilitating the investigation and prosecution of corruption-related cases without any further delay,” he said.

The National Treasury this week published the details of all companies that received Covid-19 tenders.

“National Treasury will continue with additional work to refine the submitted information for further processing. Cabinet reaffirms that law-enforcement agencies will continue to be responsible for the investigative work. Cabinet is also pleased with the progress made by the committee of ministers chaired by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola. The team of ministers was expected to coordinate the compilation of all the Covid-19 procurements and make it accessible to the public,” Mthembu said.

He said the Fusion Centre, which coordinated the work of all law-enforcement agencies, remained on track to present its first six-weekly report in the first week of September to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Mthembu also touched on alert Level 2 of the national lockdown.

He said that since the unbanning of the sale of alcohol, the reckless behaviour of some had undermined the strides made against Covid-19.

“As a result of such reckless behaviour, this week we mourn the untimely death of three Tshwane Metro Police Department officers who lost their lives in a tragic crash with a drunk driver this past weekend. This fatal accident is a wake-up call to all of us, individually and collectively, to reflect on what we can do to begin acting responsibly and playing our part in curbing alcohol abuse,” he said.

Cabinet also welcomed the reopening of primary and secondary schools as Grades 6 and 11 pupils returned to classes on Monday.


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