The R113-billion case value that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is currently probing outside of the contentious Covid-19 corruption has highlighted the spectre of public sector graft in the country.
Meanwhile, the SIU announced on Thursday that it was granted, by the special tribunal, a preservation order valued at R40.7-million and was also allowed to freeze the bank accounts and assets of 14 service providers related to alleged Covid-19 corruption in the Gauteng department of education.
The service providers, the SIU added, were contracted by the provincial education department to decontaminate schools at the staggering value of R431-million.
“The action follows an investigation into allegations of unlawful procurement of services by the education department to decontaminate, disinfect and sanitise schools,” the SIU asserted, saying that R30-million was recovered with the assistance of the Financial Intelligence Centre.
It said the assets seized include two Mercedes Benz V Class vehicles, a Landrover Range Rover Sport, Haval H6, and Toyota Avanza.
However, at a virtual press briefing on Thursday, SIU head advocate Andy Mothibi revealed that, outside of the R14.2-billion in Covid-19 procurement probes, R113-billion of the valued corruption probes was from the public sector.
National and provincial governments and departments, as well as state-owned entities, bodies and agencies, account for R101-billion of the R113-billion.
The worst performing province was Limpopo, which has 218 graft cases being probed with the value of R1.9-billion.
In its 2019/20 annual report, the SIU said it had recovered R346-million for the state and prevented a further R400-million in potential losses that would have been incurred.
In February, Mothibi said the SIU was gunning for R259-million through civil litigation for Covid-19-related corruption.
On Thursday, responding to a question from the Mail & Guardian, Mothibi said the SIU recovered about R120-million of the R259-million.
“But the R259-million [for Covid-19 civil litigation] has grown since February. We will be providing updated figures soon,” Mothibi said.
He had earlier told the briefing that there had been an improvement in the collection of monies through civil litigation, adding that the SIU would look to ramp this up, as well as ensuring arrests were made.
“We have now entered into an agreement with the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] and the Hawks, where we all seek to attend [to this corruption] speedily. We are happy that the NPA leadership and the Hawks leadership are coming to the party”
Mothibi emphasised that, even though up to 85% of its work was going after public-sector procurement; “to a large extent, there are private companies that are involved in wrongdoing”.
Mothibi said that, going forward, there would be forums in the health, local government and infrastructure-build sectors to focus on graft in those areas.
“We need to make sure that the objectives [of fighting corruption through the forums] are met, and we publicly report quarterly on the progress,” Mothibi said.