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Advocacy group calls those implicated in SIU Covid-19 report ’murderous’, says they must be held accountable

Advocacy group Accountability Now, is calling for justice to be meted out to those mentioned in the SIU report on Covid-19-related procurement. Picture: REUTERS/Mike Segar

Advocacy group Accountability Now, is calling for justice to be meted out to those mentioned in the SIU report on Covid-19-related procurement. Picture: REUTERS/Mike Segar

Published Jan 26, 2022

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Durban - Advocacy group Accountability Now is calling for justice to be meted out to those mentioned in the Special Investigating Unit’s (SIU) report on Covid-19-related procurement.

The report was released on Tuesday following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s authorisation for the SIU to probe any allegations relating to the misuse of Covid-19 funds across all spheres of government in July 2020.

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Speaking to eNCA, Accountability Now's Paul Hoffman said the work that the SIU has done is massive but those implicated in the report are not only greedy, they are also murderous.

"They took money meant for front-line workers, meant to prevent the spread of a pandemic and used it to enrich themselves at the expense of front-line workers who were not properly protected and at the expense of those ill from the virus," he said.

Hoffman said consequences need to flow.

According to reports, the SIU investigation has revealed irregularities in at least 60% of more than 5 000 contracts.

In at least one of the cases, it was found that in Gauteng, six contractors appointed to work at the AngloGold Ashanti Hospital, in the far West Rand, were irregularly appointed by the province's Department of Infrastructure Development.

DA spokesperson on Health Jack Bloom said work on the hospital started in April 2020 before the costing and pricing was approved. Although the refurbishment budget was supposed to be R50 million, it mysteriously grew to more than R500m.

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"The total cost of the refurbished Ashanti Hospital has ballooned to R733m, including the building cost of R588.5m and medical equipment bought for R144.4m," he said.

Bloom commended the SIU on its investigation, saying that it had done an excellent job in exposing massive corruption.

"There needs to be political accountability as well as criminal charges against all those implicated in this vast waste of money," Bloom said.

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Meanwhile, a report by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) revealed that organised crime increased across Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The ISS said organised crime is one of the continent's biggest security challenges. According to the 2021 Organised Crime Index, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has the highest criminality, followed by Nigeria, with Kenya, South Africa, Libya and Mozambique also in the top 10.

The report shows how organised criminals took advantage of the pandemic to fill gaps left by state institutions and adapt illicit activities to beat Covid-19 restrictions. It also revealed institutional responses to stop the virus caused extensive losses for legitimate businesses and, despite lockdowns and restrictions on movement, organised criminals were able to adapt more effectively than legal entities.

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Related Topics:

corruptionCovid-19

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