DURBAN: The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was granted an order by the Special Tribunal to freeze millions of rand held by companies that had been appointed by the Gauteng Provincial Government to refurbish AngloGold Ashanti Hospital (AGA Hospital) near Carletonville.
The order was granted on September 17 to freeze R7.9 million held in bank accounts of one professional service provider (PSP) and one contractor.
The SIU said it had reasonable grounds to believe that the funds were the proceeds of unlawful activity and should be forfeited to the State, or otherwise dealt with as part of proposed review proceedings to set aside the contracts of all the PSPs and contractors involved in the refurbishment of the AGA Hospital.
Kaizer Kganyago spokesperson for the SIU said the tribunal order prohibits the service provider and the contractor from dealing in any manner with the money held in the bank accounts pending the final review proceedings to be instituted by the SIU within 60 days of the date of the order.
Kganyago said in terms of Proclamation No R23 of 2020, directed by President Cyril Ramaphosa,f the body was mandated to investigate allegations of corruption, malpractice, maladministration and irregularities in the procurement of, and contracting for goods, works and/or services (including leased accommodation) during the Covid-19 state of disaster, and in respect of resulting payments.
He said: “The SIU investigation into the appointment by the Gauteng Department of Health (GDOH) and the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) in April 2020, of a number of PSPs and contractors to attend to the refurbishment of the unused and defunct AGA Hospital, has revealed, (a) the appointments were done irregularly and unlawfully, and stand to be set aside as invalid.
“The refurbishment of the AGA Hospital were done for purposes of accommodating seriously ill patients infected with the Covid-19; (b) neither the GDOH nor the GDID followed any fully compliant procurement or competitive bidding process(es) in respect of the appointment of the PSPs and contractors, and also did not comply with the prescripts applicable to a procurement by means of SCM Deviation as envisaged in Treasury Regulation 16A6.4,” said Kganyago.
He added that additionally the service rendering began even before the relevant appointment and/or contractors had been finalised; there was no approved budget for the refurbishments which increased from an estimated R50 million, to an amount in excess of about R500m, and the processes were subject to many delays, which rendered the AGA Hospital unavailable for the first, second and third waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.