SIU welcomes arrest of a man who allegedly tried to bribe its investigator
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THE Special Investigating Unit has welcomed the arrest of a Mpumalanga man who allegedly tried to bribe the SIU investigator in a Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) tender investigation.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the man was arrested by the Hawks’ National Serious Corruption Investigation, in a joint operation with the SIU, after he arranged to meet the SIU investigator, allegedly to deliver a bribe of R50 000 for the case to disappear.
The Hawks also seized a further R63 600 found in the man’s possession.
Kganyago said the bribe followed an intensive PPE tender corruption investigation by the SIU in the Mpumalanga Department of Public Works, Roads and Transport, which uncovered procurement irregularities.
SIU investigations revealed that the department contracted a particular service provider in the 2017/18 Financial Year for pest control services.
However, when a National State of Disaster was declared in March 2020, in response to Covid-19 pandemic, the department varied the contract to include disinfection services in the Ehlanzeni District. The disinfection services were for buildings owned and managed by the Mpumalanga Provincial Government in the Ehlanzeni District.
Subsequent to the disinfection, Kganyago said the service provider received multiple payments amounting to R4.8 million. The first was R1.3m in July 2020 and was followed by several more.
Kganyago said the SIU investigations had revealed that immediately after the first payment, the service provider started transferring large amounts of money to various entities and individuals. One of the entities that received money then made various payments that were traced to a Mpumalanga law firm and two department employees.
Kganyago said the law firm bought a R2.2m property. It was allegedly registered it in the name of a daughter of one of the two departmental officials.
In line with SIU Act 74 of 1996, the SIU interviewed parties involved in order to seek clarity on what the SIU’s investigations had uncovered.
After the interviews, the SIU investigator was contacted with a gratification offer.
SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi has welcomed the arrest of the Mpumalanga man and applauded the SIU investigator who demonstrated that SIU investigators put integrity at the centre of their work.
“As an organisation that investigates corruption, maladministration and malpractice in the affairs of the state, we are proud of our official who stayed true to what SIU stands for, that is to put integrity at the centre of our work. Our official has demonstrated that the SIU members do live the values that underpin our work. We warn everyone that we will execute our work without fear, favour or prejudice and that any attempt to bribe our members will be arrested and be met with the full might of the law," Mothibi said.
He commended the collaboration between the SIU and the Hawks that had led to the arrest.
Meanwhile, a corruption trial against two Limpopo businessmen will start in the Polokwane Commercial Crimes Court on September 20 to 23 and again on October 20 to 22, 2021.
The pair were arrested in a joint operation with the Hawks in November 2019 after allegedly trying to pay a R300 000 bribe to an SIU investigator to have the investigation dropped.
The SIU made a finding against a Limpopo service provider for a contract that was not serviced but submitted documents to the Mopani municipality for payment.
The SIU demanded the service provider pay back R3m and also made a criminal referral to the National Prosecuting Authority.