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Charges laid against Limpopo Department of Health head, CFO for role in PPE scandal

Limpopo Department of Health Head of Department Dr Thokozani Mhlongo. Picture: Supplied

Limpopo Department of Health Head of Department Dr Thokozani Mhlongo. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 31, 2022

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Pretoria - The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) has laid criminal charges against the Limpopo Department of Health Head of Department Dr Thokozani Mhlongo and Chief Financial Officer Justice Mudau for their role in the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) scandal that gripped the country.

The SIU report released last week revealed a range of offences in the procurement of PPE in the province, including irregularly appointing Pro Secure.

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In the report released by President Cyril Ramaphosa after studying it, the SIU found, among others, that the provincial health department had irregularly awarded PPE tenders worth R125 million.

“The SIU will approach the Special Tribunal to have the contract declared invalid and unlawful. Criminal evidence referred to NPA,” the SIU said in a tweet.

Limpopo Department of Health Chief Financial Officer Justice Mudau. Picture: Supplied

The SIU’s action comes more than a year after the Pretoria News’ sister paper the Sunday Independent reported that the Limpopo Department of Health had irregularly awarded PPE contracts. The 735-page report confirmed that Pro Secure was one of the companies hand-picked to supply PPEs without being on the official database of suppliers. The company was awarded a contract to the value of more that R160m in March 2020 to supply and deliver 900 000 litres of hand sanitisers and install, maintain and repair 20 000 units of anal hand sanitiser dispenses.

The report also revealed that Pro Secure invoiced the Limpopo Department of Health on 33 occasions, and that nine payments to the total of more than R160m were made.

The SIU also found that Pro Secure was not registered with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) to distribute medical devices to a third party. The SIU is performing civil litigation to set aside the contract to the value of more than R25m.

Independent Media previously reported that politically connected individuals and other ANC officials had benefited from the Limpopo Department of Health PPE contracts.

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The SIU probed the multibillion rand PPE procurement fraud across the country, laid criminal charges against some companies, and froze their bank accounts for their role in tender irregularities.

Efforts to reach Mhlongo and Mudau were fruitless until yesterday, while the health department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana referred media inquiries to office of Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatba whose office imposed a media ban on all affected departments, saying they were still studying the report.

Pretoria News

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