PPE corruption: Hawks swoop on two senior Health Laboratory officials

a police car parked in a parking lot

© Provided by The South African

Two senior employees at the National Health Laboratory Service have been arrested on Sunday 15 August, reportedly in connection with corruption relating to dubious procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE). This follows a thorough investigation into the allegations of tender fraud at the National Health Laboratory Services amounting to over R14.4 million.

Reports suggest that the arrested officials are currently being processed at the Sandton police station alongside a “close associate” of Johannesburg businessman Hamilton Ndlovu, who became embroiled in COVID-19 corruption allegations last year. 

Hawks arrest two senior officials 

Speaking to The South African on Sunday, SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said that he could not confirm the arrest, but confirmed that referrals and recommendations for disciplinary action to be taken against employees at the National Health Laboratory Service had been handed over to the Hawks following their investigation into possible corruption. 

“We have been investigating [possible fraud and corruption relating to dubious PPE procurement at the National Health Laboratory Service] and have made referrals to the Hawks,” he said. 

Hawks spokesperson Lt Col Katlego Mogale said in a statement on Sunday that the arrests were made early on Sunday morning, with the suspects set to appear in court on Monday. 

“Two suspects aged 32 and 57-years-old, as well as a company, are expected to appear in the Palm Ridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court tomorrow, 16 August 2021 after they were arrested this morning by the Serious Corruption Investigation of the Hawks,” she said. 

“The suspects will be answering charges relating  to the contravention of the Public Finance Management Act, theft and fraud in the awarding of personal protective equipment tenders.”

SIU investigate PPE corruption  

It is alleged that around 80% of a R172 million PPE contract facilitated by Ndlovu and the National Health Laboratory service was squandered by officials who splurged on luxury personal purchases.

Last year, the ostentatious millionaire caused a scene on social media, as he uploaded photos of a fleet of luxury card purchased at ‘virtually the same time’. Their estimated value totalled R10 million, and alarm bells starting ringing

Monies received by several other companies from a set of multi-million rand agreements were also identified as ‘alter egos belonging to Mr. Ndlovu‘. He has since been designated as a non-compliant party, after it was calculated that he owes the taxman R36 million in unpaid bills. 

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