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Hawks head briefs Parliament on fight against corruption

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The Hawks are investigating 138 incidents and 124 cases of Covid-19 corruption

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PARLIAMENTARIANS heard on Tuesday that 138 incidents and 124 cases of Covid-19 corruption have been registered with the Fusion Centre.

Briefing the justice and correctional services portfolio committee , Hawks head Godfrey Lebeya said that of the 138 incidents registered, 116 were under investigation and 22 closed.

Lebeya also said that of the 124 cases registered, there were 99 that were under investigation, nine were closed and 16 were before courts with 33 accused persons.

He told MPs that there were 12 instances of bank accounts with an estimated R145.6 million that were frozen.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit was busy with nine cases involving R119.4m, the Special Investigating Unit with 10 recoveries estimated at R289m and Sars with five cases involving R194m.

Lebeya said 59 matters were received from the SIU related to 13 various incidents with multiple accused.

All the matters have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority and Hawks for registration of case dockets and were being investigated.

However, Lebeya said there were risks and challenges law enforcement agencies encountered.

He said the offices of the Hawks were over-utilised amid under-resourcing of the unit.

Lebeya said they were dealing with the workload internally.

The National Treasury capacity was overstretched, due to a lack of co-operation by the Provincial Treasury offices during investigations related to supply chain management. SCM officers of departments were not providing all relevant information requested by investigating officers.

“This causes delays in the investigations as there must be further requests which leads to the possibility of documentation being altered.”

Lebeya said they had to use other methods of compelling the officials to provide information without volunteering to co-operate.

Covid-19 affected the finalisation of some matters amid cases of isolation, quarantine, decontamination of offices and rotation of staff.

Reliance on external forensic auditors had several challenges and a joint committee had been appointed to investigate alternative proposals.

The Anti-Corruption Task Team was considering the roll out of the Fusion Centre model in provinces.

“We believe that approach will assist.”

He said several cases had been identified for joint prioritisation by the law enforcement agencies to ensure they work together to fast track the cases and monitor progress.

There was also a training committee to capacitate resources challenges in order to ensure there was improvement in areas where they were weak.

“The purpose of the training committee is to address the shortage of forensic and other financial-investigating capacity in government.”

The case management committee has been reconstituted to improve working mechanisms.

“In the past, we were weakened by certain developments. We are improving on these,” Lebeya said.

– Political Bureau