SIU to investigate corruption in Water and Sanitation Department

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) will lodge an investigation into allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of the national Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).

The investigation will also serve to recover potential financial losses suffered by the State.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a proclamation authorising the probe.

In a statement, the SIU said the investigation would focus on the procurement of, or contracting, and implementation of four Information Technology (IT) contracts that were awarded by DWS to EOH and its subsidiaries to the value of R474 million.

The contracts were awarded between 2012 and 2017.

“The matters came to the attention of SIU during its investigation into the affairs of DWS, which were directed by proclamation R27 of 2018, as amended by Proclamation R44 of 2019.”

The SIU was also contacted by EOH with the purpose of informing the SIU and sharing information pertaining to the alleged fraud and corruption involving former employees of its subsidiary, EOH Mthombo, and third parties who allegedly colluded with officials of DWS in relation to contracts that EOH had concluded with DWS.

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The investigation, said the SIU, was aimed at determining whether the procurement and payments made in relation to the IT contracts were done in a manner that was fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective; or contrary to applicable legislation, and guidelines issued by National Treasury.

The scope of SIU investigation also covers alleged unlawful or improper conduct of DWS employees.

“The SIU has been and will continue working closely with the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture in the investigation of this matter.

“The investigation will cover transactions that took place between 1 January 2012 and 30 July 2021, the publication date of the proclamation. Transactions that either took place before January 2012 or after 30 July but relevant to, connected with same persons, entities or contracts being investigated will also form part of the SIU investigation,” said the SIU on Thursday.

The proclamation authorises the SIU to use all its legislative powers to subpoena bank statements and cellphone records, search and seize evidence, and interrogate witnesses under oath in an effort to hold those who are allegedly responsible for financial losses to account for their actions.

In line with SIU Act 74 of 1996, the SIU will refer any criminal conduct it uncovers in its investigation to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), as well as the Hawks in the South African Police Service (SAPS) for further action.

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