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Scopa calls for speedy prosecutions

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Scopa says it is seriously concerned about allegations of corruption relating to Covid-19 procurement.

File image. Picture: Ian Landsberg African News Agency.

PARLIAMENT’S standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) says it is seriously concerned about allegations of corruption relating to Covid-19 procurement and wants those implicated to be successfully prosecuted in order to turn the tide of corruption in government.

In a statement late on Wednesday after meeting with the head of the country’s Special Investigating Unit (SIU), tasked with probing the allegations, the committee said the unit and other law enforcement agencies such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) should move with speed and ensure prosecutions.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption around the government’s spending towards the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, including charges of impropriety in giving tenders.

His own spokeswoman, Khusela Diko, has taken special leave amid allegations that her husband received part of a R2.2 billion personal protective equipment tender awarded to 75 companies by the Gauteng Health Department.

Recover

In its statement after meeting the SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi, the public accounts committee said it had told him that the investigations must lead to consequence management and the recovery of stolen resources in the end. Mothibi promised the committee he would deliver results within a “reasonable” time, it added.

It said Mothibi had in his presentation highlighted the number of Covid-19-related contracts each province had granted to service providers and the amounts used so far. He said some service providers received payments even before they did any work.

Mothibi added that the SIU would submit progress reports to Ramaphosa every six weeks.

On Wednesday the DA said it would ask Parliament to extract an explanation from Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on why he had not cancelled “emergency procurement” allowances for Covid-19 as he had committed to doing.

DA Member of Parliament and spokesperson on finance Geordin Hill-Lewis said the National Treasury had also failed to meet its own deadline for a progress report to Parliament on action taken to stem corruption related to the government response to the health crisis.

– African News Agency