- Businessman Hamilton Ndlovu scored close to R172 million in PPE contracts from the National Health Laboratory Service.
- The SIU investigation uncovered a web of interlinked entities, all purporting to operate independently. However, in essence, the entities were the alter ego of Ndlovu.
- The available evidence indicated that very little was paid for the PPE and that there was a huge mark-up.
Flashy businessman Hamilton Ndlovu scored close to R172 million in personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts from the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) through entities directly and indirectly linked to him.
This was established in an 18-month Special Investigating Unit (SIU) probe into more than 5 400 government Covid-19 procurement countrywide contracts, valued at R14.3 billion, which were awarded to 3 066 service providers.
An SIU report, which President Cyril Ramaphosa made public on Tuesday, revealed that Ndlovu used a series of companies to compete for contracts worth millions.
The SIU said the matter was referred to them in August 2020 when a R72 million tender for the provision of PPE was awarded to entities belonging to Ndlovu and Feliham, a company owned by Ndlovu's fiancé.
Although Feliham was restricted via the Central Supplier Database (CSD) from doing business with the state, officials at the NHLS "circumvented this restriction and awarded a contract to Feliham worth R14 475 500 for 2 500 000 surgical shoe covers," the investigation uncovered.
The SIU also discovered that the NHLS awarded a R3 million tender to Ndlovu in 2019 for the building of a prefab laboratory in Gqeberha.
The SIU determined that Ndlovu was indirectly linked to various other entities and that the entities were all awarded contracts by the NHLS through irregular procurement processes.
"The SIU obtained evidence which revealed that Mr Ndlovu was the individual behind the submission of quotations by the different entities, the purchase of the required PPE and to some extent, delivery.
"The available evidence indicates that he is the owner of the entities and is both the direct and indirect beneficiary of the funds received from the NHLS.
"The entities and/or Mr Ndlovu failed to reveal the true nature of their relationship to [the] NHLS and as such, obtained its contracts unlawfully and fraudulently from the NHLS."
The SIU discovered that the NHLS paid R172 million to entities that were either directly or indirectly linked to Ndlovu.
Following the analysis of series bank accounts, the SIU found that all companies that received PPE contracts made payments to Ndlovu's account and these payments were diverted to Hamilton Holdings, as well as Feliham.
The investigations also established that R42 million from these companies was transferred to Ndlovu's personal account.
"The available evidence indicates that very little was actually paid for the PPE and/or that there was a huge mark-up.
"The SIU investigation uncovered a web of inter-linked entities, all purporting to operate independently. However, in essence, the entities were all the alter ego of Mr Ndlovu."
Ndlovu made headlines in 2020 when he posted a video of a fleet of luxury vehicles, including a Jeep Grand Cherokee, three Porsches and a Lamborghini Urus.
In September 2021 the SIU and NHLS obtained a Special Tribunal order to prohibit him from disposing of his assets, valued at R42 million.
Ndlovu's application for the review of the order was dismissed with costs in December 2021.
In March that same year, Ndlovu was also hit with a similar preservation order, obtained by the South African Revenue Service, to the tune of R60 million.
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