Good progress made in recovering funds meant for COVID-19 programmes: Shamila Batohi

Good progress made in recovering funds meant for COVID-19 programmes: Shamila Batohi

The National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi says there has been good progress in recovering funds meant for COVID-19 programmes. She was addressing the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum webinar.

Batohi says a number of initiatives have been put in place to bolster the efforts of the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

She says even though strides have been made in dealing with PPE related corruption, challenges remain.

“We have made the commitment that the investment in the NPA and Asset Forfeiture Unit, particularly, as well as those entities dealing with corruption and other forms of commercial or economic crime, is hugely important because it will be a return of investment. We will bring back the money. Bringing back the money will instill confidence.

Shamila Batohi

We have to remember that the money that was stolen, was money that was destined for the poorest and most vulnerable to provide basic infrastructure and basic services.

In October, Deputy President David Mabuza said government’s poor procurement systems led to large-scale COVID-19-related corruption.

During a hybrid session of the National Assembly, ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe posed a question to Mabuza about how corruption on the grand scale of COVID-19 related procurement, will be prevented in the future.

“As government, I am sure we were caught napping. Some of our procurement systems leave much to be desired. As we are speaking, we are dealing with procurement systems. It is time to close all loopholes that are there,” Mabuza said.

Mabuza said law enforcement agencies are working hard to bring those who are found guilty, to book.

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“The SIU is investigating up to R5 billion worth of contracts alleged to be improperly awarded to various companies, nationally, provincially, and municipal level in the procurement of PPEs. There have been more allegations referred to SAPS and other law enforcement for further investigation.

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