SIU probes R1bn health dept fraud
The cases involve three top Gauteng health officials and several service providers
THE Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is probing fraud cases involving more than R1-billion.
In its interim annual report of April-September 2011, the unit said it was investigating a current chief director, a former head of department and a former chief financial officer whose names are known to Sowetan.
The three allegedly made improper payments of R15.3-million, R1.2-million and R681,916 to service providers.
The national Treasury referred the cases to the SIU after an investigation by a private forensic firm in 2008 and a report by the auditor- general a year later.
The SIU started its investigations only in 2010.
The unit had identified 10 procurement deals worth over R1-billion pertaining to contracts entered into by the department for the supply of various services. In one incident, a service provider was paid R11-million in duplicate payments. The sum of R778,749 was recovered, and a further R414,481 was recovered later through the Acknowledgement of Debt.
According to the report, the SIU conducted over 460 interviews and obtained 296 statements from witnesses who included department officials.
SIU spokesman Boy Ndala did not want to reveal the names of those implicated or whether police cases had been opened.
"The SIU can confirm that the matters related to senior officials in the department of health in Gauteng (and) has been referred to the Anti-Corruption Task Team for further action. We cannot reveal anything further at this stage as the investigations are at a sensitive stage," said Ndala.
Gauteng health department spokesman Simon Zwane did not want to comment on the cases.
"The SIU is dealing with this matter and they are the ones who will confirm the names for you," Zwane said.
Gauteng DA health spokesman Jack Bloom said the investigation was just a tip of the iceberg: "I expect more rot to be revealed as the investigation proceeds. The big question is whether political figures were involved in the extensive looting in this department."