BREAKING | SIU Special Tribunal freezes accounts linked to Gauteng irregular PPE tender, blocks pension – News24

BREAKING | SIU Special Tribunal freezes accounts linked to Gauteng irregular PPE tender, blocks pension – News24
Doctors making use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Doctors making use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

  • The SIU has obtained an order to freeze the bank accounts of at least 40 entities linked to an irregularly obtained PPE tender by the Gauteng Department of Health.
  • Among these were accounts linked to Ledla Structural Development, Royal Bhaca Projects and Mediwaste.
  • The SIU special tribunal also interdicted the pension fund of former Gauteng health department chief financial officer Kabelo Lehloenya.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Thursday obtained a court order to freeze the accounts of 40 entities linked to an irregularly obtained personal protective equipment (PPE) tender from the Gauteng health department.

Among these were accounts linked to Ledla Structural Development, Royal Bhaca Projects and Mediwaste, who are at the centre of a PPE tender scandal that has gripped the provincial Department of Health.

On Thursday, SIU Special Tribunal Judge Billy Mothle issued an order to freeze R38.7 million that is due for recovery.

“The implementation of the contract for the supply and delivery of various Covid-19 personal protection equipment (PPE) items, purportedly by the Gauteng Department of Health to the first respondent on 6 April 2020, is suspended and the first to forty second respondents are interdicted from giving effect thereto,” he ordered.

SIU Special Tribunal spokesperson Selby Makgotho confirmed that the order was handed down on Thursday.

“In the papers before the Special Tribunal, Ledla Structural Development (Pty) Ltd was awarded a contract by the Gauteng Department of Health for the supply of Covid-19 items, which the SIU contends, was unlawfully, irregularly and corruptly awarded, and at prices which were grossly inflated way in excess of market related prices. The contract was awarded on the 6th April, 2020,” he said.

“Ledla Structural Development (Pty) Ltd subsequently transferred a large portion of the proceeds it received into various banking accounts belonging to entities and individuals, which funds, the SIU contends in court papers, are liable to be forfeited to the state.”

IOL reported that the Gauteng health department paid Royal Bhaca Projects at least R80 million for PPE through a front company known as Ledla Structural Development.

Bhaca Projects is owned by Madzikane ll Thandisizwe Diko, the husband of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Khusela Diko. He is a respondent in the matter.

IOL reported that Ledla, based in Boksburg, received the payments between 20 and 27 July even though it did not appear on the original list of 75 successful bidders who benefitted from R2.2 billion worth of PPE contracts in Gauteng.

Pension

The judge further ordered that the pension fund of Kabelo Lehloenya, former chief financial officer of the Gauteng health department, be frozen and not be released to him.

He has been identified as having signed off on irregular PPE contracts to the tune of R2 billion.

The court interdicted the MEC for health and the Government Employees Pension Fund from releasing the pension to Lehloenya.

“The Special Tribunal held that civil recovery proceedings against Lehloenya be instituted within 15 days of the granting of the order for recovery of financial damages suffered by the Department resulting from actions of illegality, misconduct and acts of dishonesty,” Makgotho said in a statement.

He said in terms of the order, the respondents have until 6 October to show cause why the order should not be made final.

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