President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening said he signed a proclamation to empower the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to cult down on corruption involving COVID-19 funds.
In order to speed up and strengthen the process of dealing with corruption, he has signed a proclamation authorising the Special Investigating Unit ( SIU).
Ramaphosa said SIU will 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.
“This empowers the SIU to probe any allegations relating to the misuse of COVID-19 funds across all spheres of the state.
“Once the SIU finds evidence that a criminal offence has been committed, it is obliged to refer such evidence to the prosecuting authority,” he added.
He said that there were already 36 investigations underway, which included fraudulent Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) claims and overpricing of procurement and fake NGOs.
Also other nine financial intelligence and security agencies have come together to fast track investigations.
The president said that 4.4 million people had received R2.2 billion of the special COVID-19 grant since April. R34 billion was paid by the UIF’s special COVID-19 benefit to 7.5 million workers.
R1.5 billion has been paid in loan guarantees to support businesses and R12 billion has benefited 8,600 small and medium companies.
While over R70 billion in tax relief has been provided to companies.
The president said that all money spent fraudulently would be recovered.
“All the funds that we have committed must reach their intended recipients and must be put to their proper use.
We will take steps to recover all funds that have been stolen or where goods have been overpriced.
“The success of our fight against corruption depends on the involvement of all citizens and all parts of society,” he said.