The Special Tribunal has granted the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) an order to freeze R42-million of assets belonging to businessman Hamilton Ndlovu.
In a statement on Thursday, the SIU detailed how eight companies linked to Ndlovu, which last year secured contracts from the NHLS worth a total of R172-million for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), had been investigated.
“On 31 August 2021, the SIU and the NHLS obtained an interim interdict in the Tribunal preserving properties and funds under the control of Mr Ndlovu worth approximately R42-million,” it said.
“The SIU and NHLS have ascertained that the transactions were obtained by abusing the emergency procurement procedures that were adopted by the NHLS to respond to the Covid-19 disaster during the first half of 2020.”
The Special Tribunal’s order also prohibited Ndlovu from transferring any assets within 30 days of it being issued.
As investigations continue into whether PPE contracts obtained by companies linked to Nldovu were granted legally , the SIU found that he had benefited both directly and indirectly from the eight companies and was the controlling force behind the contracts.
It was not disclosed to the NHLS that all eight companies were controlled by Ndlovu. The SIU has made it clear that the companies operated illegally as part of an unlawful scheme to make it seem as if they were independent entities.
“Instead of operating at arm’s length and in competition with each other to supply PPE to the NHLS at the best available prices, the companies were a front whereby Mr. Ndlovu could allegedly obtain multiple contracts from the NHLS at excessive prices without revealing his involvement in each of them,” the investigating unit said in its statement.
After investigating the bank accounts of both Ndlovu and the companies linked to him, the SIU found that only R15-million of the funds paid to the businessman by the NHLS were used to purchase PPE; the rest, just less than R100-million, or 87% of the money paid to him by the NHLS, was spent in his own capacity.
“The funds and properties that have been preserved as proceeds deriving from the unlawful transactions include four properties R32-million and a deposit of R10-million paid by one of the front companies, Bugatti Security Services and Projects into an attorney’s trust account,” the SIU said.
The SIU and NHLS have until 1 October to table the final resolution of review proceedings before the tribunal.
Read the SIU’s full statement here: