The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says it’s increasingly optimistic about reclaiming monies from individuals implicated in dodgy procurement transactions pertaining to South Africa’s Covid-19 response initiative.
Kaizer Kganyago, spokesperson for the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), expressed his profound appreciation for the recent triumph, wherein the Special Tribunal granted them an order preventing a former government official from accessing his pension.
The order effectively freezes a substantial sum of R2 million from the pension fund belonging to Tshegofatso Daniel Moralo, a former employee of the Mpumalanga Health Department.
Moralo, a former assistant director and manager of pharmaceutical services, stands accused of purportedly misappropriating funds allocated for Covid-19 relief. The allegations suggest that Moralo utilized these funds to benefit the company owners, despite failing to adhere to the requisite procurement protocols.
According to Kganyago, Moralo’s resignation from the government suspiciously coincided with the initiation of an investigation by the SIU into a series of transactions involving seven companies.
These companies, namely Silver Falls Scientific Solutions, Sifiso Siyafezeka, Nkabo Technologies, Tee Tee 15 Trading, Uhuruwankha Primary Cooperative, Nkuzi Health Medical, and Hlalu Lindzile Construction, have come under scrutiny as part of the SIU probe.
“An SIU investigation has revealed that Moralo allegedly had a hand in the irregular awarding of seven contracts amounting to R 19 495 102.50 for procurement of goods and services from various service providers during the Covid-19 state of emergency.
“The SIU probe into the affairs of the Mpumalanga Health Department also revealed that Moralo willfully, grossly, and/or negligently failed to ensure compliance by the department with all the prescripts regulating public sector procurement and failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the department does not incur irregular expenditure,” said Kganyago.
In order to safeguard against Moralo’s receipt of his pension subsequent to his sudden resignation, the SIU approached the Special Tribunal. As a result of their efforts, the tribunal has granted an interdict, effectively impeding the department from disbursing the benefits owed to the implicated former employee.
“The SIU is pursuing civil action to review and set aside the contracts and to recover financial losses suffered by the state. The freezing of Moralo’s pension benefits is part of the implementation of SIU’s investigation outcomes and consequence management to recover financial losses due to corruption or negligence.
“The SIU applauds the Mpumalanga health department for acting on the SIU’s disciplinary referral against Moralo. We urge other state institutions to also act on disciplinary referrals,” Kganyago said.
Judge Lebogang Modiba, the Special Tribunal’s presiding officer, granted an urgent hearing to the case that the SIU had brought against Moralo. Judge Modiba believed that, despite deviating from the established rules of forms and times, granting an urgent hearing was necessary due to the potential consequences of postponing the proceedings.
Specifically, Judge Modiba expressed concerns that once the pension funds are disbursed, the task of recovering any misappropriated funds would become significantly more challenging for the unit.
“[The department] is interdicted and restrained from making payment to [Moralo] or any other party in respect of [Moralo’s] pension benefits pending the finalization of the proceedings instituted by the [SIU] against [Moralo],” said Modiba.