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Johannesburg - The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has recovered R181 million in stolen state funds which it has returned to various national departments and municipalities, it announced on Tuesday.
“The SIU is pleased to announce that civil recoveries emanating from irregular payments (and) maladministration to various beneficiaries has been successful of the period March 2008 and March 2013,” SIU spokesman Boy Ndala said in a statement.
Ndala said the SIU had to date prevented future losses to the value of R16 billion.
“Prevention of future losses is the approximate value of future savings to state institutions as a result of our interventions,” Ndala said.
“This means that if the unit was not mandated to intervene, the state would have lost this amount to corruption and maladministration.”
The amount of money that was not paid out based on SIU recommendations since 2001 amounted to R1.6bn.
Recommendations included removing irregular beneficiaries from low-cost housing and social pensions systems.
The department of social development was paid back R135.6m following investigations into social grants.
The SIU said the amount was recovered from 43 404 public servants, who irregularly accessed social grants wo which they were not entitled. Over 14 000 of these public servants were from KwaZulu-Natal.
While the unit had turned its focus on procurement matters, investigations into social grants were ongoing.
The unit also recovered approximately R41.4m which was returned to the human settlements department.
These funds were recovered from irregular housing subsidies obtained from 5202 government officials.
Approximately R14.7m of the funds was recovered from 1567 officials from KwaZulu-Natal.
The SIU said investigations were ongoing and it was looking into housing contracts.
The correctional services department was reimbursed about R4.4m recovered from officials who defrauded the medical aid fund.
The amount was recovered from 456 officials of the department, who signed acknowledgements of debt.
“The irregular procurement practices have become the core focus area for the unit,” Ndala said.
“The current value of procurement matters under investigation is approximately R7bn.”
The SIU said procurement matters, involving about R900m, at five Limpopo provincial departments were under investigation.