JOHANNESBURG - Twelve public servants and politicians, including former Gauteng MEC for Health Brian Hlongwa and current ANC chief whip in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, and 10 private sector companies have been implicated in corruption worth R1.2 billion in the Gauteng Department of Health between January 2006 and May 2010.
Details of the corruption are contained in a report by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) released today by health activist and social justice non profit organisation Section27, Treatment Action Campaign and Corruption Watch.
The report was handed to former President Jacob Zuma in March last year, seven years after he issued the proclamation ordering the investigation, with the report released to Section27 last month following a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application.
Criminal matters identified in the SIU investigation against a number of department officials, including Hlongwa; former director of executive support programme management (ESPM) Dr Obakeng Mookeletsi; former chief operating officer and special adviser to Hlongwa, Dr Abdul Rahman; former director of ICT Ms Mosupi; and former chief director supply chain management Valdis Ramaano were referred to the South Gauteng Director of Public Prosecutions for contraventions of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.
Five of the 10 matters that were referred to the SIU for investigation involve 3P Consulting, which went into liquidation, with the SIU investigation highlighting how 3P Consulting sought to capture the Gauteng Health Department by providing kickbacks, luxury trips and other corrupt benefits to senior politicians, including Hlongwa.
During the period of the investigation, 3P Consulting seconded 20 of its staff members to key positions within the department, including a Mr Meso, who was seconded as acting chief financial officer and approved payments to 3P Consulting.
The SIU could not find any document reflecting a request from the department for personnel assistance or a motivation for the secondment of 3P Consulting personnel.
A contract worth R779 500 was awarded to 3P Consulting to compile the 2007/2008 budget for the department. It was motivated by claims that the department did not have the necessary expertise to compile the 2007/2008 budget following budgeting process changes by National Treasury.
However, the department had already compiled this budget and 3P Consulting was paid R1.46 million for this contract.
The director of budgeting for the department stated that he compiled this budget, his work was handed to 3P Consulting, which did not make any changes to the work that was then submitted as their own.
The SIU uncovered evidence of 10 trips provided by 3P Consulting to Hlongwa, Mookeletsi and Rahman between 2006 and 2009.
These included trips to London, Vienna, Mauritius, Dubai, Singapore, with the expenditure related to these trips paid for by 3P Consulting, including the cost of travel, accommodation and other related expenses.
No evidence of Hlongwa declaring the trips or paying for or reimbursing 3P Consulting for these trips was obtained by the SIU, which was also not provided with any evidence that the trip with official department related trips.
The SIU also established that The Life Channel Africa (TLC) owned by Phil Austin in 2008 paid for a trip for former director of ICT Ms Mosupi and her family for a vacation in the UK. TLC was sourced by 3P Consulting to provide television informational services to Gauteng Hospitals. The SIU report also lists bribes paid when Hlongwa bought a house in Bryanston valued at R7.2m in 2007 through one of his companies.
Hlongwa paid a deposit of R2.6m, with the remaining R4.6m to be financed by the sale of his previous house. Of the R2.6m deposit, R1.6m was paid by 3P Consulting and channelled through attorney Siven Samuel to a conveyancing attorney Yousha Tayob.
A further R1m towards the deposit was paid by Regiments Health Care director Niven Pillay. Regiments Health Care was appointed by 3P Consulting as a sub contractor to the department.
The balance of the purchase price was settled after the sale of Hlongwa’s previous house. Kemsing Services, a member of the Baoki Consortium with 3P Consulting, AME Africa Healthcare and Amethst, bought Hlongwa’s previous house for R4.75m in August 2008.
Hlongwa was allowed to stay in the house in terms of the purchase agreement for occupational rental of R20 000 a month and remained in the house until November 2009.
There was no evidence that Hlongwa paid the required occupational rental and Kemsing Services transferred a further R1.5m directly from its Cyprus account to Hlongwa under a reference indicating it was for furniture purchased.
A preservation order was obtained against the fixed property owned by Hlongwa for allegedly being the proceeds of corrupt activities but the final forfeiture order against the property was being opposed.
- BUSINESS REPORT