SIU to probe COVID-19-related corruption

todayJuly 24, 2020 10

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has vowed to clamp down on corruption arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and has signed a proclamation empowering the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to look into the extent of the allegations.

Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Thursday, 23 July 2020, on developments in South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy to manage the spread of COVID-19.

The proclamation, allows the SIU to probe any allegations relating to the misuse of COVID-19 funds across all spheres of the State.

“If the SIU finds evidence that a criminal offence has been committed, it is obliged to refer such evidence to the prosecuting authority”, Ramaphosa said.

“It is also empowered to institute civil proceedings for the recovery of any damages or losses incurred by the State.”

Ramaphosa said to ensure that action is taken speedily, the president would receive interim reports on investigations from the SIU every six weeks.

“The fight against the Coronavirus pandemic is stretching our capabilities and resources to their limit. We are therefore determined that there should be no theft, no wastage and no mismanagement of public funds”, he said.

Ramaphosa further warned that the consequences for those who break the COVID-19 laws or bypass regulations will be severe.

“With an operational hub at the FIC, this centre is investigating allegations of corruption in areas such as the distribution of food parcels, social relief grants, the procurement of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies, and UIF special COVID-19 scheme.

“At least 36 cases are currently at various stages of investigation and prosecution”, he further said.

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