Home News Hawks probe into health dept ‘at an advanced stage’

Hawks probe into health dept ‘at an advanced stage’

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The special task team set to clean up the department made critical finding regarding alleged criminal conduct.

Former MEC for Health, Mac Jack.

THE HAWKS investigation into tender fraud worth millions of rands at the Department of Health is, according to reliable sources, at an advanced stage.
The report into the investigation that was commissioned by the former MEC for Health Mac Jack in 2015, that is believed to pinpoint senior officials in the department, has never been released.

The special task team that was set up to clean up the department investigated irregular tenders to the value of R450 million and made critical findings regarding alleged criminal conduct.

The head of ministry, Deon Madyo, who headed the anti-fraud and corruption task team, died during the course of the investigation.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) was appointed by National Treasury in November 2016 to corroborate the findings of the task team.

PWC also uncovered price fixing and cover quoting by companies that had provided goods and services to the Department of Health.

Repeat quotations were submitted by these service providers for more or less the same value, below R500 000, in order to avoid having to advertise these tenders.

Preliminary investigations revealed that kickbacks were paid to officials who were not entitled to any benefits by service providers, in exchange for inflating prices.

At least six suspects, including health officials and sole directors of companies are apparently the subject of the Hawks investigation into possible charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering.

The investigation identified the flouting of supply chain processes, irregular expenditure, fruitless and wasteful expenditure, nepotism, collusion as well as a conflict of interests.

Included in the investigation were four payments of R1,5 million that were made between January and February 2014 to a dental service provider, who is an ANC official and has since been suspended from the party.

The Department of Health paid R247 200 for one dental chair along with dental equipment to the value of R137 365.88 in January 2014.

A payment advice of two split payments amounting to R769 131,76 were made for two dental chairs although it was never advertised in terms of tender regulations.

Another questionable tender relates to a R6 million payment for the construction of roofing at the Schmidtsdrift clinic during 2013 and 2016.

Three companies submitted tenders for this project, where the quotations were linked.

Another payment under investigation relates to R7 million that was paid between 2014 and 2016 for work on the Noupoort hospital.

A high ranking official resigned after he was suspended on charges of gross negligence in 2015, in relation to the installation of air-conditioners and alterations at West End hospital.

The payments were split to avoid the need to go out on tender where the appointed service provider installed the air-conditioners at the Galeshewe Day Hospital with the same order number that was used for the West End Hospital.

Only 13 air-conditioners were installed along with some painting work at the Galeshewe Day Hospital, which was far less than the quotation that was approved for West End Hospital in 2015.

An invoice was submitted for R345 800 for work completed at the West End Hospital when the work was in fact for work at the Galeshewe Day Hospital.

Charges were also laid against the same official for payments of R39 200 made for a refurbishment project at the West End specialised hospital, including repairing a damaged ceiling, that was never repaired.

During 2014 the department paid R26 100 for ceiling and wall painting, R4 500 for the installation of three hand basins, R3 800 for the installation of three paraplegic toilet pots and one paraplegic toilet, R5 500 for a 150 litre Kwikot econo slim line geyser, R16 975 for the installation of six security doors and six locks that were invoiced at R5 300 at the West End Hospital.

Not completed

The task team found that there was no quality assurance and that these jobs were signed off although they were not completed.

The gross negligence charges against the official extend to the installation of eight bathroom door locks and the replacement of aluminium safety reflective glass windows invoiced at R17 500.

According to the charges the official had circumvented and disregarded supply chain management procedures and had deliberately caused the department fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the value of R127 025 at the West End specialised hospital.

He was also charged for violating finance regulations when he spent money allocated for the De Aar hospital, without obtaining approval from the accounting officer.

Provincial Hawks spokesperson, Captain Philani Nkwalase, stated that they were not at liberty to discuss the issues raised, as the matter was under investigation.

“We will issue a statement at the right time. Kindly allow us the space to carry out our investigation.”

Spokesperson for the MEC for Health, Lebogang Majaha, said the MEC, Lebogang Mothlaping, would hold a press briefing next year to give an update on the current state of healthcare and outline plans to address challenges in the Province.