The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the release of the forensic investigation report into the R150 million contract awarded by the national Department of Health to service provider Digital Vibes.
THE SPECIAL Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the release of the forensic investigation report into the R150 million contract awarded by the national Department of Health to service provider Digital Vibes.
On Wednesday, President Cyril Ramaphosa made public the report for the media campaign for National Health Insurance and subsequent Covid-19 communications from the SIU.
The contract was awarded when former health minister Zweli Mkhize was the political head of the department.
The presidency said in a statement that all persons or entities implicated in the report were sent notices so that they could have an opportunity to object to the report’s publication or part thereof.
“This was done in the interest of fairness and in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), following a number of PAIA applications by persons and parties who wished to have sight of the report,” Ramaphosa said.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said they were happy that the report was made public by Ramaphosa.
Kganyago said they were now following up on the recommendations that are contained in the report.
“In the main, what we have done is that we have taken the mater to the Special Tribunal wherein we want to set aside that contract. We also want the R150m that was spent irregularly to be taken back to the Department of Health,” he said.
Kganyago said the corruption-busting unit had also made referrals to the department, and their action had resulted in the suspension of director-general Sandile Buthelezi, and that seven other officials were to be dealt with in terms of disciplinary hearings.
“We have sent referrals to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in terms of the criminality that we found. We hope that all of this will be dealt with speedily,” he said.
The SIU is, however, still continuing with investigations into the matter.
“We are now looking at further evidence that came to our attention after we had given the report to the president,” Kganyago said.
The SIU said it received allegations from a whistle-blower regarding potential irregularities in the award by the NHI media campaign and the subsequent Covid-19 media campaign.
“It was also alleged by the whistle-blower that the minister had a vested interest in the appointment of Digital Vibes and that the appointment of Digital Vibes by the national Department of Health had been irregular,” reads the report.
The report said the procurement processes for the contract with Digital Vibes were irregular and was void.
“In this regard, irregular expenditure amounting to approximately R150 million and fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to approximately between R72 million and R80 million was incurred by the national Department of Health,” it read.
Although the report implicates several officials, only Buthelezi has been suspended for his role in implementing the contract when he joined the department months after the contract was entered into.
– Political Bureau