Covid-19 corruption: Nomvula Mokonyane implicated in irregularities over R2.7 million soap tender

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Nomvula Mokonyane.
Nomvula Mokonyane.
  • Former minister Nomvula Mokonyane paid R1.6 million from her personal account on behalf of privately owned Tuwo Rhodesia to supply the Gauteng health department with 200 000 soap bars. 
  • The contract was to supply 200 000 175g Dettol bars of soap to the Gauteng health department for R2 790 000.
  • Tuwo Rhodesia profited from the order to the tune of R1 139 900.

Former minister Nomvula Mokonyane has been implicated in a R2.7 million personal protective equipment (PPE) contract after she paid R1.6 million from her personal account to a company that won the contract. 

According to the Special Investigating Unit report into PPE corruption, Mokonyane paid R1 650 000 from her personal account to Tuwo Rhodesia and in April 2020, the company bought the soaps from Continental Cash and Carry (CCNC) at a price of R1 509 407 (including VAT).

The company was contracted to supply the Gauteng health department with 200 000 175g soap bars.

According to the report released by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday, Tuwo Rhodesia received a call from the Gauteng health department in March 2020 requesting a quotation for Dettol soap bars.

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The quotation was submitted and the contract worth R2 790 000 was awarded by former Gauteng health chief director for supply chain and asset management, Thandiwe Pino.

Mokonyane's daughter, Katleho Ohare Mokonyane, and Bonelwa Mgudlwa, are directors of the company.

Investigations by the unit also found that Mgudlwa, who was employed by SAA Express Airways at the time of the award of the contract, failed to declare his interests at the airline.

The SIU investigation also found that Tuwo Rhodesia was not registered for VAT with the South African Revenue Services at their time of appointment.

"The SIU investigation found that no competitive bidding process was followed in awarding the contract to Tuwo Rhodesia."

Mokonyane paid R1 650 000 from her personal account to Tuwo Rhodesia and in April 2020, the the company bought the soap from Continental Cash and Carry (CCNC) for R1 509 407 including VAT.

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The investigation found that Continental Cash and Carry issued another invoice to Tuwo Rhodesia for a total amount of R140 683 (including VAT) for 1 421 packs of 12 175g Dettol soap at R86.09 each (excluding VAT) plus a total VAT amount of R18 350.

"This means that this invoice of CCNC was therefore for 17 052 units of soap at a unit price of R8.25 each (including VAT). The SIU investigation found that the invoices from CCNC were for different types of Dettol soaps, e.g. active, caring, cool, daily care, even tone, fresh, re-energise, refreshing, sensitive, skincare and soothing."

On 6 April 2020, Mokonyane made a further payment of R50 100 from her personal account into the business with the reference "Continental Cash and Carry".

The investigation found that the two invoices from Continental Cash and Carry added up to a total of 200 004 units of soap with an amount of R1 650 058.33.

The same as the amount Mokonyane deposited into the company's coffers.  

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According to Mgudlwa, the funds were sourced "from the inheritance money as received by my [his] co-director from her late father's estate and we [they] will be forever grateful and indebted, in gratitude, for the support received from family in this regard". 

The report stated that Mgudlwa said that Tuwo Rhodesia had access to trade capital funding companies that assisted small black businesses with funding.

The Gauteng health department paid R2 790 000 to Tuwo Rhodesia on 11 May 2020.

Tuwo Rhodesia then paid R1 100 000 to Mokonyane, R900 000 to her daughter Katleho and R35 000 to Mgudlwa.

"Tuwo Rhodesia profited from the order to the tune of R1 139 900."  

The SIU said it had referred evidence against Mgudlwa to SAA Express Airways. The airline, according to the SIU, said no action would be take against him, as it was under administration at the time.

The SIU said criminal charges were opened against Mlangeni and the former head of the health department, Mkhululi Lukhele.

The SIU also said it had prepared a brief for lawyers to apply to the Special Tribunal or the high court to review and set aside the awarding of the contract to Tuwo Rhodesia and to recover a total amount of at least R1 139 900 in respect of what was overcharged.

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