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SIU welcomes sentencing of Deokaran's killers

The alleged killers of Gauteng health department whistle-blower Babita Deokaran during a court appearance. File photo.
The alleged killers of Gauteng health department whistle-blower Babita Deokaran during a court appearance. File photo.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the sentencing of six men responsible for the murder of Babita Deokaran, the former acting chief financial officer of the Gauteng department of health.

This follows the Johannesburg high court’s decision to hand down heavy sentences ranging from six to 22 years' imprisonment after the convicts reached a plea agreement with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). 

Deokaran was killed outside her home in Johannesburg on August 22 2021 after flagging irregularities relating to suppliers and service providers that were conducting business with Tembisa Hospital, resulting in payments of approximately R850m. 

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said Deokaran was a noble public servant. “She worked with law enforcement agencies, especially the SIU, to stop the abuse of public funds by providing information on ongoing investigations in the health department,” said Kganyago.

He added that Deokaran provided the SIU with information to assist with investigations, “relating to the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the health department, and flagged maladministration, fraud and corruption related to the supply chain management processes at the Tembisa Hospital”. 

The SIU investigation produced significant results and consequence management has been implemented. 

“Several senior officials in the health department have faced disciplinary action and dismissed from employment. PPE contracts have been terminated and monies returned to the state. There are still several contracts that need to be adjudicated in the Special Tribunal ... like the refurbishment of the AngloGold Ashanti Mine Hospital for Covid-19 purposes,” said Kganyago. 

He said the health department announced last week that it had suspended six of the nine officials that were cited in the SIU report on Tembisa Hospital, “while others left the hospital before action could be taken against them”. 

“The SIU will conduct further investigation into the alleged corruption, maladministration, fraud and malpractices related to the supply chain management processes at the hospital,” said Kganyago. 


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