Mboweni slams ‘Covidpreneurs’ and corrupt officials looting government tenders

Finance minister Tito Mboweni has slammed corrupt business and government officials who have used the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to loot and steal,

In a series of late-night tweets, Mboweni called for strict punishments for those caught in corrupt activities as well as stronger leadership on the issue.

“A tender is an ethical contract. It is not a blank cheque to deceive and steal. And stealing from unwell people! During a Covid-19 pandemic! Please people. What kind of people are these criminals?!

“We should be working together to defeat the virus. Not see this as an opportunity to defraud the State and unwell people. We are watching you and there has to be consequences. For sure. Game over!”

Mbowenit’s tweets come after reports that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is investigating dozens of companies and individuals who are believed to have benefited from dodgy Covid-19 tenders.

Deals believed to be worth more than R2.2 billion involving emergency purchases of personal protective equipment (PPE) are at the centre of the investigation, with 90 companies that received contracts from the Gauteng health department under the spotlight.

The group is also investigating R30 million in alleged irregular contracts in KwaZulu-Natal. The SIU will then move to the Eastern Cape, where it will probe a R4.8 million contract awarded by the OR Tambo municipality for a Covid awareness campaign.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged to fight corruption in the country and opportunists who use the coronavirus pandemic for their own gain.

“We are determined that every instance of alleged corruption must be thoroughly investigated, that those responsible for wrongdoing should be prosecuted and that all monies stolen or overpriced are recovered,” he said in an address on 23 July.

“In order to speed up and strengthen the process of dealing with corruption, I have  signed a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit – the SIU – to investigate any unlawful or improper conduct in the procurement of any goods, works and services during or related to the national state of disaster in any state institution.”

Read: South Africa preparing for coronavirus recovery: Ramaphosa

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Mboweni slams ‘Covidpreneurs’ and corrupt officials looting government tenders