Government departments, state entities owe SIU half a billion rands

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The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has informed parliament that it is owed half a billion rands by government departments and state entities.  The funds are due for the investigations conducted on behalf of the legislature.

SIU head Andy Mothibi has told the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services that these nonpayments threaten the unit’s financial stability. During a presentation, he stated that the current funding model is dependent on payments from these entities and is not sustainable.

Mothibi says they are engaging all relevant authorities to resolve the issue of non-payment. He says however that he is satisfied that it is being taken seriously and that the Department of Justice is processing the legislative amendments that will include proposed changes to the funding model.

“We are really working hard, we engaged the National Treasury. We’ve engaged our minister and he’s aware of the debt levels. While SIU is in a sound financial position, we are what the auditors will call a going concern. There are no risks related to SIU but if we don’t recover this debt it has got the potential that down the line it will pose a risk to SIU operations,” says Mothibi.

SIU says 62% of the investigated PPE contracts were found to be irregular:

PPE corruption

On the issue of PPE corruption, Mothibi says there is a process to get those involved to be blacklisted. He says more than 3000 service providers were investigated. Where wrongdoing was found, they then refer those to the National Treasury to be blacklisted.

He also told the committee that the SIU is taking all the necessary measures to protect its investigators and whistle-blowers. Mothibi says it has been identified as a risk and has been included in their risk assessment.

He says they are in the process of appointing protection services for the investigators and added that they also work hard to ensure the protection of whistleblowers.

By the end of January 2022 the SIU had investigated 5 467 COVID-19 contracts valued at R14.3 billion which were awarded to service providers across all spheres of government, with 62% of them having been found to be irregular.

The SIU also recovered over R34 million in assets and money, while R551 million was still to be recovered.

This report does not include details of ongoing investigations that were not included after a specific timeline was set.