The Fusion Centre has made some progress in securing 43 convictions against entities and 51 against individuals in relation to various crimes including corruption and fraud.
The centre, a multidisciplinary corruption-fighting agency, was established in 2020 to deal mainly with Covid-19 crimes related to illegal procurement.
It was expanded this year to include other crime categories such as organised crime, maladministration, terrorist financing and other serious financial crimes, both in public and private institutions.
Hawks head Godfrey Lebeya provided an update on Wednesday on the work that has been done.
He said a total of 556 cases were investigated relating to fraud, maladministration, tax evasion and cases of corruption involving 168 accused persons.
“In these cases, 51 people and 43 entities were convicted for various crimes including corruption, fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and others. 48 cases are still in court,” said Lebeya. A number of freeze orders and recoveries were also recorded, including 25 orders worth R274 million by the Financial Intelligence Centre, 42 orders worth more than R331 million by the Asset Forfeiture Unit, the SIU obtained 29 orders amounting to R465 million and SARS obtained 22 freezing orders worth more than R740 million.
One of the cases pending before the courts involves an Eastern Cape taxi association which allegedly fraudulently claimed R220 million from the TERS scheme using 66 accounts.
“The Fusion Centre issued Section 34 directives on the 26 bank accounts securing a preservation order of R26.9 million against the taxi association.
The PPE contract of the taxi association was declared irregular and unlawful.
The criminal trial is still proceeding,” said Lebeya.
In another case, an accountant, Lindelani Gumede, was sentenced in 2022 to 135 years imprisonment after being convicted for fraud, theft, and money laundering.
Gumede defrauded the TERS scheme of over R11 million by claiming relief funds on behalf of a number of companies without their knowledge.
“Public officials were also involved in some of the cases of maladministration or did not follow the legislative frameworks in the appointment of service providers, and payments made to service providers and third parties.
There were 97 referrals for disciplinary and executive actions against officials in government departments and state-owned entities,” said Lebeya.
To date, 11 public officials have been dismissed for various cases of maladministration, fraud and corruption. Three have resigned, eight were suspended, and one received a written warning.