Gauteng doctor, company director charged after R620,000 was paid for “donated” PPE during Covid-19 pandemic

Money in bank notes and coins

Dr Obakeng Stephen Mookeletsi and Jabu Mahlangu, director of Triakon Engineering were released on bail when they appeared in court on charges of fraud, theft, and money laundering worth R620,000. File Picture

Published Nov 29, 2023

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An employee of the Gauteng health department, Dr Obakeng Stephen Mookeletsi, and the sole director of a company called Triakon Engineering Pty (Ltd), Jabu Mahlangu, appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court facing charges of fraud, theft, and money laundering.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the complainant in the case was the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) following the proclamation by President Cyril Ramaphosa authorising the SIU to look into allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of the Gauteng health department.

NPA Gauteng spokesperson, Phindi Louw said the case relates to an amount of R621,000 that was paid by the department to Mahlangu’s company account.

“Triakon was appointed through a quote system by the Gauteng Department of Health for the supply and delivery of various personal protective equipment (PPE), during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Louw.

Dr Obakeng Stephen Mookeletsi and Jabu Mahlangu, director of Triakon Engineering were released on bail when they appeared in court on charges of fraud, theft, and money laundering worth R620,000. File Picture: Ian Landsberg/Independent Media

She said on May 20, 2020, the chief financial officer at the department sent an email to Triakon informing them that the orders for PPE, namely gowns, were cancelled with immediate effect as Triakon had failed to deliver gowns of acceptable standards.

“The warehouse, 3G Relocations, which was subcontracted with Gauteng Department of Health to receive and distribute the PPE to various hospitals in Gauteng, was also informed not to accept further deliveries from Triakon,” Louw said.

“Further investigations revealed that Mahlangu and his company had previously claimed more than R9 million but only received payments amounting to more than R4 million.”

She said Dr Mookeletsi, an employee at Leratong Hospital, was arrested on November 17, on allegations that he went to 3G Relocations’ warehouse on May 25, 2020, to receive the PPE stock, on behalf of the Gauteng health department.

“He has never been responsible for quality assurance at Gauteng Department of Health and was not authorised by Gauteng Department of Health to act on their behalf,” said Louw.

“Upon realising that Triakon delivered personal protective equipment, though being informed not to do so, Gauteng Department of Health contacted Mahlangu, who told them that it was a donation,” she said.

“Gauteng Department of Health later received an invoice for the ‘donated’ personal protective equipment which was processed and paid to the Triakon company account.”

Both accused Dr Mookeletsi and Mahlangu were released on bail of R10,000 each, and they will be back in court on February 6.

The matter was postponed for further investigation.

“The prosecution of the accused is the implementation of SIU investigation outcomes and consequence management to correct any wrongdoing uncovered during investigations,” the NPA said.

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