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Scopa: NPA needs to get the ball rolling on corruption cases

Parliament’s watchdog received a briefing from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) over investigations involving the Department of Water and Sanitation

Lindiwe Sisulu cONSTITUTION

Image via GCIS

The Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa) intends engaging the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to determine the course of action involving cases of  fraud, corruption and maladministration, which have reached its desk.

Parliament’s watchdog has expressed concern over the pace at which the prosecution of a number of graft cases is moving.

“We remain fundamentally concerned about the lack of consequence management…We feel that the law enforcement agencies are seriously letting us down”

Mkhuleko Hlengwa, Scopa Chairperson

On Friday, 19 June 2020, the committee was briefed the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in relation to several probes  involving the Department of Water and Sanitation.

New evidence in Lepelle Northern Water

Lepelle Northern Water, Limpopo’s official water utility, was one of the key focuses of the SIU probe which dates back as far as 2008. The investigation found several instances of wrongdoing in the Giyani Water Project, worth R2 billion, including failure to heed advice from an engineer and the department’s inability to conduct proper oversight.

“From the documents seized, it is clear that Lepelle Northern Water continued with the services of the contractor after they received summons. The contract value went from R2.2 Billion to R3.2 Billion”, read the SIU’s presentation.

According to the SIU, new evidence has emerged and will be investigated, which means the completion date of the probe has been extended.

“The corruption investigation completion date has been extended as new evidence of corrupt activities has been uncovered which must be investigated to it’s logical conclusion. An extension to the proclamation was applied for and granted in this respect”, the presentation further said.

“The SIU is also undertaking a full value for money exercise, utilising the skills of experts in the field, on the work completed in the Giyani area in respect of this contract”

The SIU raided the offices of the water board in November 2019, which the committee said pointed to a deliberate attempt to frustrate the process of the investigation.

“Also, the committee welcomes the fact that the SIU is taking steps to investigate the officials even after they have resigned and moved to other departments or entities within the state as well as those who have left the employ of the state. The report of the SIU will form the basis of the work of the committee as it interrogates how the department was bankrupted by mismanagement”, said Scopa Chairperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa.