Eastern Cape Health MEC to appear before Special Tribunal over R10m scooter project

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Eastern Cape health MEC Sindiswa Gomba
Eastern Cape health MEC Sindiswa Gomba
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  • The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has secured the appearance of Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba before the Special Tribunal.
  • The SIU is probing the awarding of a R10 million contract to provide several scooters for the province's response to Covid-19.
  • The scooters were met with much skepticism when they were unveiled in June.

Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba is expected to appear before the Special Tribunal, following allegations of financial irregularities, involving her department, in a controversial R10 million scooter project.

Tribunal spokesperson Selby Makgotho confirmed this to News24 on Thursday morning.

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Makgotho said Gomba, departmental Superintendent General Dr Thobile Mbengashe, chief financial officer M Daca, and Fabkomp (Pty) Ltd would appear before the tribunal on Friday.

"It is alleged that the department purportedly expedited the contract for the procurement of 100 mobile clinic scooters from Fabkomp (Pty) Ltd in light of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Special Investigating Unit, which brought the application to the Special Tribunal, contends that the awarding of the R10 million contract was done in contravention of the provisions of Section 217 of the Constitution, [the] Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and Treasury regulations," Makgotho said.

"Furthermore, it is alleged that the contract was marred by irregularities and irrationality and that it was awarded in an unusual and unexplained haste."It is further contended that the Department, upon hearing of the SIU investigations, resolved that the scooter be modified and continue with the tender with Fabkomp (Pty) Ltd as the service provider and that such a modification constitutes a fresh contract. The SIU alleges that the modifications show that the awarding of the contract was not meant to meet the specified needs of the Department."

READ | Eastern Cape procures Covid-19 resources to the tune of about R1.2 billion

On 12 June, Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize and Gomba unveiled six scooters fitted on the side with a first aid kit and oxygen on board.

However, the scooter initiative sparked outrage across the country, with some accusing the department of corruption News24 previously reported.

And now, the tender which was awarded to a King William's Town-based company is under investigation.

The department earlier  confirmed that the Bid Adjudication Committee was reviewing the processes followed in the awarding of the deal.

The department also said the committee was acting due to "public discomfort" over the deal.

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