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SIU slams Masuku’s claims it portrayed him as ‘poster boy of Covid corruption’

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The SIU said Masuku’s interpretation of a high court judgment was flawed, saying he would like to project himself as if he has been vindicated when in fact he lost.

Former Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)

THE SPECIAL Investigating Unit (SIU) has slammed former Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku’s claims that the law enforcement agency has dubbed him the poster boy of corruption.

Masuku made the claims on Saturday after the ANC national disciplinary committee (NDC) overturned the Gauteng ANC’s decision to suspend his membership in the provincial executive committee (PEC).

He was suspended, along with presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko, and hauled before the ANC provincial disciplinary committee following reports of their alleged involvement in tender fraud related to the acquisition of personal protective equipment (PPE) by the Gauteng Health Department.

After the NDC announced its outcome, Masuku used the opportunity to lambaste the SIU, saying: “On April 12, 2021, a full bench of the North Gauteng High Court, per Sutherland J, emphatically found that the SIU’s findings, (dubbed opinions by the court) that I was involved in corruption and nepotism, are devoid of merit.

“At the time, the SIU had effectively propped me as the proverbial poster boy of Covid-19-related corruption. Specifically, the court found that the SIU saw no crime being committed by me and that there was no basis for civil action against me.”

But the SIU has dismissed Masuku’s claims.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the SIU has never made a finding of corruption and nepotism against the sacked MEC, but said that the investigations were still continuing.

“It is therefore self-serving for him to misrepresent to the public what actually transpired. The SIU rejects the notion that we propped him as the poster boy for corruption. The SIU is on record stating that, at the time of making a referral to the Gauteng premier to take action against Dr Masuku, it had concluded the process and administrative part of the investigation of the Gauteng Health Department procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) to fight the pandemic.

“The criminal investigation is still ongoing. When evidence pointing to criminality is uncovered during the criminal investigation, the SIU will refer such evidence to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Hawks for further action,” Kganyago said.

He said the interpretation of the high court judgment by Masuku was flawed, saying he would like to project himself as if he has been vindicated when he has lost, and the court has even awarded a punitive order for him to pay the SIU the costs for two counsel.

“The issue of him being corrupt or not was not part of what the court had to determine, as the SIU had not even made a determination on it yet.

“The SIU is in the process of recovering the legal costs from him,” Kganyago said.

Political Bureau