Bandile Masuku: Independent report findings 'contradicts SIU', clears him of hand in PPE graft

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Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku.
Gauteng Health MEC Dr Bandile Masuku.
Sharon Seretlo/Gallo Images via Getty Images
  • A preliminary SIU report and an independent forensic report into the Gauteng PPE scandal contradict one another.
  • The former implicates while the later exonerates MEC Bandile Masuku in any wrongdoing relating to PPE procurement in his department.
  • Masuku was placed on special leave after the husband of presidency spokesperson, Khusela Diko was awarded a R125 million tender in the department.

An independent forensic report into allegations concerning irregular procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Gauteng has found no evidence that suggests that MEC of Gauteng Health, Bandile Masuku, interfered in any PPE procurement processes.

This report conflicts with the preliminary Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report into the case which places Masuku at the centre of the tender processes in the department which resulted in the husband of presidency spokesperson, Khusela Diko receiving a tender of R125 million to supply PPE, TimesLive reported.

"There is no evidence that Dr Masuku interfered in any PPE procurement processes. His stated motivation for being 'involved' was in delivery rather than procurement and solely to ensure that the GDoH did not run out of essential PPE, thereby endangering [the] life of GDoH medical staff or patients," the 39-page forensic report reads.

READ | Gauteng Premier fires health MEC Bandile Masuku

The forensic report by Paul O'Sullivan and Associates - dated 8 October - sought to carry out a diligent search for evidence of criminal offences such as fraud and/or corruption by the now axed MEC for Health in Gauteng, Bandile Masuku, and his wife Loyiso Masuku, with specific focus on PPE procurement, and report on its findings.

This comes after Masuku faced allegation of being involved in unlawful PPE supply contracts in the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH).

Diko, Masuku, and Loyiso, who serves as an MMC in the City of Johannesburg were all placed on a leave of absence following reports of tender corruption at the GDoH.

Diko's husband, Chief Madzikane II had been awarded a R125 million tender to supply PPE to the department, News24 reported.

READ | PPE scandal: Makhura considering SIU's findings on Masuku

The forensic report further found no evidence that the MEC of health "appointed his people" nor did it raise any red flags from a lifestyle audit on the Masukus.

Defamatory

"Any allegation that that Dr or Mrs Masuku were involved in any tender rigging, corruption, fraud or mismanagement pertaining to the Gauteng PPE tenders, could be de facto defamatory," the report found.

The SIU report, dated 1 October, however, found that Masuku knew about the irregular procurement processes by his department, because senior officials such as the CFO & Head of SCM, had kept him informed at every step of the process, as early as April 2020.

The report by O'Sullivan & Associates, however, states that Masuku did not know that Chief Madzikane II -Diko's husband - was entering bids for the PPE supply chain.

READ | Ramaphosa calls on citizens to use the Covid-19 app - here's how it works

"There is no evidence that indicates the Masukus knew that Mr Diko was engaging with GDoH with a view to supplying PPE products before, 24 May 2020," the report concludes.

In addition, it found that Masuku invoked an internal audit as soon as he became aware of the irregularities in the department.

The SIU report, however, found that Masuku was kept aware of the procurement processes undertaken by the GDoH at "all relevant times".

"Although the MEC, during an interview with the SIU, tried to distance himself from the day-to-day activities of the GDoH, it  is clear that the GDoH and the CFO of the GDoH had gone out of its/her way to keep the MEC fully informed in respect of the procurement of PPE by the GDoH," the SIU report finds.

Fired

Premier of Gauteng, David Makhura announced that he was firing Masuku as the Gauteng Health MEC on Friday during a virtual Covid-19 update.

Makhura said that his decision was based on the SIU report finding that Masuku failed to execute his function in compliance with the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

He noted that he was aware of the report by O'Sullivan, but further clarified that his action was based purely on the finding and recommendation of the SIU in its preliminary report.

"I was made aware of the report by O'Sullivan but I work on reports commissioned formally by state institutions, I have not looked at it. I am acting on the basis of the SIU report that recommended that I take action," he explained.

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