The Special Investigating Unit is still investigating massive corruption in the Gauteng Health Department nine years after it was authorized to do so.
This information is given in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature by Provincial Police Commissioner Elias Mawela.
According to Mawela the investigation is still ongoing and delays are because “the final report from the appointed Forensic Accountant and transcripts on recordings of the lnternal inquiry by the Gauteng Legislature against the suspects accounts for the delay”.
A key suspect is the ANC’s Brian Hlongwa, who was the Health MEC when the alleged massive corruption occurred involving more than R1 billion in contracts.
According to evidence submitted in court by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP), which has brought an asset forfeiture application against him, there was “an apparent and generally corrupt relationship between Hlongwa and Payne” (note: Richard Payne was the MD of 3P Consultants which got massive contracts from the department).
Payne is alleged to have paid Hlongwa R1.6 million to assist him to buy a house in Bryanston in north Johannesburg for R7.2 million.
The Baoki Consortium, which was awarded a R1.4 billion contract in December 2007 to provide a Health Information System for Gauteng hospitals, has not opposed the NPA’s asset forfeiture application against them.
The evidence against them includes the role of Mr Heinz Smidek, whose companies were part of the Baoki Consortium, in purchasing Hlongwa’s former home at 16A College Drive in Bryanston for R4.6 million as well as other gratifications to Hlongwa in order for him to allegedly improperly influence the award of the tender to Baoki.
The evidence against Hlongwa and senior former officials of the department is comprehensive and damning.
The Gauteng Health Department has still not recovered from Hlongwa’s disastrous tenure when financial controls dissolved and service delivery suffered.
Mawela says that “Once the prosecutor has indicated that the charge sheet is finalized
and the racketeering certiﬁcate has been authorised the accused shall be arraigned.”
I am extremely disappointed by the excessive delays in this case which I suspect has been due to political interference or bribes as in the case of Bosasa.
This investigation has dragged on even though the SIU was given the mandate by Presidential Proclamation R21 as long ago as 14 May 2010.
I will write to Shamila Batohi, the National Director of Prosecutions, to review this case to ensure that prosecutions take place in court as soon as possible. Willie Hofmeyr, the newly appointed head of the Asset Forfeiture Unit, should determine what is holding up the forfeiture of Hlongwa’s R7.2 million Bryanston house that has been identified as a proceed of crime.
It is high time that justice is seen to be done in this long-running, with jail time for those found guilty in court.