South Africa

Gauteng government officials who squandered R500m went down

Johannesburg – Six former senior officials at Gauteng Health who illegally awarded a R500 million data storage tender to Telkom have been allowed to resign and no criminal charges have been brought against them.

This was revealed by Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi, MEC of Gauteng Health, in his written response to questions from DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom.

Bloom has submitted written questions to MEC Mokgethi to the provincial legislature asking for details of investigations by the Department of Health since January 2018.

In his response, Mokgethi said the department had conducted 12 investigations by various external forensic firms, but only of those four were concluded and recommendations made to the department.

Mokgethi said the four investigations concluded were related to fraudulent deposits at Tambo Memorial Hospital; fraudulent activities regarding MVAs at Thelle Mogoerane; supply irregularities at the emergency medical services (EMS) level; and the last survey was the atV-Block IT infrastructure.

She said investigations into the remaining eight people were still ongoing, adding that they included irregularities in the supply chain at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, as well as illegal purchases of legal services and irregularities in d other hospitals, including Dr George Mukhari University Hospital.

Although he admitted the investigations were completed, Mokgethi said disciplinary letters were sent to those involved for fraudulent activity at Tambo Memorial Hospital and Thelle Mogoerane.

At EMS, she revealed that three officials were acquitted while another received a final written warning.

Regarding the illegal R500 million contract, Mokgethi said six of those involved resigned while one received a final written warning.

She said there was an outstanding disciplinary issue.

When asked how many criminal charges had been laid on the findings of 12 investigations, she said “Nil”.

In June 2018, former Dr Gwen Ramakgopa, then a former MEC of Gauteng Health, faced with questions related to the irregular contract of R500m, told the legislature that an investigation was underway and that “field work is in progress. courses at all sites where the V-Block is deployed. ”.

Ramokgopa said the department would only respond to possible disciplinary action and criminal charges after the investigation is completed.

The contract was awarded on September 11, 2014, when Qedani Mahlangu was MEC for Health.

In November 2017, it was revealed that R500m had been wasted on the massive V-Block data storage facility, while the e-governance service’s storage facility could have been used instead.

In his reaction to Mokgethi’s latest revelations three years later, Bloom said the Gauteng health department had spent R17.6 million on 12 corruption investigations since January 2018, but had not recovered any money that was desperately needed to provide hospital services to sick patients.

“No one has been fired as a result of these investigations, although disciplinary warnings have been given and six officials involved in the V-Block affair have resigned.

“I am amazed that no criminal charges have been laid as a result of the investigations, and not a single cent of the funds recovered. In the case of the R500m V-Block scandal, this certainly should have resulted in criminal proceedings against those responsible involved. And why was the money not recovered in this case? Bloom asked.

Eight other investigations are still underway into various cases of fraud and corruption.

He said the most costly investigation cost R 3.4 million and focused on human resource and supply chain irregularities at Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in Soweto.

“I suspect the department is getting ripped off by expensive law firms that conduct these investigations. In many cases, the investigation costs more than what would have been stolen! he said

Bloom said the department needs to put effective measures in place to prevent theft and fraud in the first place.

“But if that happens, investigations should be cost effective and swift, with the stolen money recovered and the culprits brought to justice. The DA is asking the ministry to examine the exorbitant cost of investigations conducted by law firms and to ensure that criminal charges are always laid where indicated. The internal investigative capacity should also be expanded, ”he said.

Bloom said the measures would allow more money to be spent on the department’s main goal – to provide quality health services to sick people.

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Gauteng government officials who squandered R500m went down

SourceGauteng government officials who squandered R500m went down

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