PRETORIA – The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has welcomed the arrest of a Mpumalanga man by the Hawks for allegedly trying to ‘bribe’ an SIU investigator in a COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tender investigation.
“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 to deliver a “bribe” of R50 000 for the case to disappear,” the SIU said on Tuesday.
During his arrest on Monday, the Hawks also seized a further R63 600, which was found in his possession.
The “bribe” follows 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 as a response to COVID-19 pandemic, the Department varied the contract to include disinfection services in the Ehlanzeni District,” the SIU said.
The disinfection services were for buildings owned and managed by the Mpumalanga Provincial Government in the said District.
Subsequent to the disinfection, the service provider received multiple payments amounting to R4.8 million.
The first payment was for R1.3 million in July 2020 and was followed by a number of payments amounting to R3.5 million.
“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, which were traced to a Mpumalanga based law firm and two employees of the Department.
“The law firm bought a property to the value of R2.2 million and registered it in the name of a daughter of one of the two Departmental officials,” the SIU said.
In line with SIU Act 74 of 1996, the SIU interviewed parties involved to seek clarity on what the SIU investigation had uncovered.
After the interviews, the SIU investigator was contacted with a gratification offer.
SIU Head, Advocate Andy Mothibi, has 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 full might of the law,” Mothibi said.
He further commended the brilliant collaboration between the SIU and the Hawks that led to the arrest.