POLITICAL NEWS - The Hawks’ head, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, has revealed that the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) is set to make an arrest on Thursday in relation to Covid-19 corruption.
Alongside the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) and Special Investigating Unit (SIU), Lebeya briefed the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) on the progress of Covid-19 corruption investigations.
Lebeya told the committee that the Hawks were currently investigating 154 Covid-19 corruption cases, with 13 of the cases having been conducted and completed.
He said six criminal cases were already on court rolls, while one case was provisionally withdrawn.
Lebeya also revealed that the DPCI was still receiving an influx of cases as the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) Kimi Makwetu approaches the conclusion of his investigations.
“There is a huge influx of cases. The AG’s Special Report showed us that 80,000 exceptions/illegal payments have been identified, which will need to be investigated,” he continued.
He added that it was a priority for law enforcement agencies for the cases identified to be heard in court.
“By the the end of January 2021, we hope that we will have 14 [Out of 44] more cases on the court roll,” Lebeya said.
Other corruption-related cases and enquiries under investigation include application of relief funds through the UIF-TERS (eight), Solidarity fund (two), the abuse of NGO’s (three) and procurement fraud (38), the Hawks said.
Meanwhile, SIU head Andy Mothibi told the committee that the unit was investigating contracts worth R10 billion, which is 67% of the R15.6 billion total Covid-19 expenditure.
Mothibi revealed that contracts worth R223 million were currently before the Special Tribunal to set aside and recover losses.
He said the SIU brought an application to declare the R125 million Royal Bhaca contract – awarded to presidential spokesperson Khuselo Diko’s husband, Thandisizwe Diko – invalid.
The SIU also seeks to freeze approximately R26 million as the proceeds of unlawful activities,” he said.
The NPA has already 12 cases [Out of 20] recommended for disciplinary action against officials involved in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) fraud.