SIU freezes accounts of service providers linked to refurbishment of hospitals

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has been granted an order to freeze R7.9 million held in the bank accounts of one professional service provider (PSP) and one contractor appointed by the Gauteng Provincial Government to refurbish the AngloGold Ashanti Hospital (AGA Hospital) near Carletonville.

The order was granted on 17 September 2021, by the Special Tribunal.

In a statement on Tuesday, the SIU said that it has reasonable grounds to believe the funds are the proceeds of unlawful activity and fall to be forfeited to the State, or otherwise dealt with as part of proposed Review proceedings to set aside the contracts of all the PSPs and contractors involved in the refurbishment of AGA Hospital.

“The Tribunal order prohibits the PSP and the contractor from dealing in any manner with the money held in the bank accounts, pending the final review proceedings to be instituted by the SIU within 60 days of the date of the order,” the SIU said.

This forms part of taking action against those implicated in corruption, maladministration and malpractice during the COVID-19 state of disaster.

“The SIU was, in terms of Proclamation No. R.23 of 2020, directed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate allegations of corruption, malpractice, maladministration and irregularities in the procurement of and contracting for goods, works and services (including leased accommodation) during the Covid-19 state of disaster and in respect of resulting payments,” the SIU said.

The SIU investigation into the appointment by the Gauteng Department of Health (GDOH) and the Gauteng Department of Infrastructure Development (GDID) in April 2020, of a number of PSPs and contractors to attend to the refurbishment of the unused and defunct AGA Hospital, has revealed, inter alia, that:

(a) the appointments were done irregularly and unlawfully, and stand to be set aside as invalid. The refurbishment of the AGA Hospital was done for purposes of accommodating seriously ill patients infected with the COVID-19 virus

(b) neither the GDOH nor the GDID followed any fully compliant procurement or competitive bidding process(es) in respect of the appointment of the PSPs and Contractors, and also did not comply with the prescripts applicable to a procurement by means of SCM Deviation as envisaged in Treasury Regulation 16A6.4;

(c) the service rendering commenced even before the relevant appointment and/or contracts had been finalised;

(d) there was no approved budget for the refurbishments which increased from an estimated R50 million, to an amount in excess of approximately R500 million, and

(e) the processes were subject to many delays, which rendered the AGA Hospital unavailable for the first, second and third waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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