Ramaphosa announces establishment of 4 new courts to deal with Covid-19 corruption

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President Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa
  • Four new Special Commercial Crimes Courts will be established to deal with cases of Covid-19-related corruption.
  • Sars is investigating estimated tax revenue losses of R300 million.
  • The SIU is looking into 1 274 contracts.

Four new Special Commercial Crimes Courts will be established to deal with cases of Covid-19-related corruption, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Tuesday.

In response to a question from ANC MP Maurencia Gillion, Ramaphosa said the government had "responded swiftly and decisively to allegations of corruption in the awarding of Covid-19-related contracts".

He added the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was currently looking into 932 cases under the proclamation issued in July and all were at different stages of investigation.

"The SIU has, to date, provided me with two interim reports which outline the progress in the investigations, including where investigations have been finalised."

He said: 

The reports of SIU investigations will be made public once all the necessary processes have been completed and there is no risk of jeopardising ongoing investigations.

Ramaphosa said the SA Revenue Service (Sars) had established a Covid-19 project team to investigate and audit cases.

At the end of September, there were 307 cases with an estimated tax revenue loss of R300 million and 139 companies were referred for potential tax evasion investigations.

"The rise in serious commercial crimes and incidents of Covid-19 procurement corruption has meant that we are fast-tracking the establishment of additional Special Commercial Crimes Courts and increasing the capacity of existing ones."

SIU knows 'what is at stake'

"We are looking to establish additional Special Commercial Crimes Courts in Polokwane, Mbombela, Mahikeng, Mthatha and Mangaung," he added.

DA MP Tim Brauteseth asked him for an update on the SIU's investigations.

"The Special Investigating Unit has made progress in their investigations since the proclamation was issued on 23 July 2020," said Ramaphosa.

"The SIU is currently investigating 1 274 contracts from 85 departments, provinces, municipalities and public entities.

"To date, it has referred 34 criminal matters to the National Prosecuting Authority, and 33 disciplinary referrals to state institutions."

He said: 

The SIU has instituted cases in the Special Tribunal for cancellation of contracts to the value of R223 million and the recovery of funds.

"The investigations are ongoing. As I indicated earlier, the reports of SIU will be made public once all the necessary processes have been completed and there is no risk of jeopardising ongoing investigations."

Ramaphosa commended the SIU for its outstanding work under difficult conditions.

"They know what is at stake. It is the ethos of our country, that is what is at stake," he added.

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