Two allegedly linked to R1.2bn corruption at Gauteng health dept out of the country

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  • Two businessmen allegedly linked to tender corruption at the Gauteng health department have not been arrested.
  • Four former senior department employees appeared in the Commercial Crime Court on Thursday.
  • NPA national spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said warrants of arrest against Phil Austin, John Payne and their companies could not be executed.

Two businessmen allegedly linked to R1.2 billion tender corruption at the Gauteng health department in 2007 could not be arrested as they are out of the country.

John Richard Payne, Phil Austin and their respective companies, Ukwakha Dezign (Pty) Ltd and Life Channel Communications (Pty) Ltd, were expected to appear in the Commercial Crime Court sitting in Palm Ridge on Thursday alongside four former senior department employees.

NPA national spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said warrants of arrest against Austin, Payne and their companies could not be executed.

Meanwhile, former head of department and accounting officer Sybil Ngcobo, former chief director of information and communications technology Mmakgosi Mosupi, former director of supply chain management Valdis Romaano, and executive support programme manager Obakeng Mookeletsi appeared in court on charges of corruption and the contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

Ngcobo was released on R8 000 bail, while the rest were each granted R25 000 bail.

According to the charge sheet, the other accused in the case are Payne, his company Ukwakha Dezign, Austin and his company Life Channel Communications. 

Ngwema said the tender was subsequently awarded to the Baoki Consortium - consisting of AME Africa, Health System Technology, AMETHST and Equiton Investments - at an estimated cost of R630 million.

"However, the final total value of the tender awarded to Baoki Consortium was R1 045 174 125.12. A company called 3P Consulting (Pty) Ltd (3P) was appointed by the GDoH [Gauteng Department of Health] to manage various contracts on its behalf. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) was signed on 28 March 2008 between the department and the Baoki Consortium.

"On 23 May 2008, Mosupi and Mr Mookeletsi, together with representatives of the Baoki Consortium, signed a change order to allow Baoki Consortium, through AME, to procure the services for the provision of power generators, furniture, network, computer literacy training and catering. The value of the change order was R13 369 693.89.

"The criminal investigation by the Hawks is subsequent to an investigation by the SIU [Special Investigating Unit] that was authorised by the president on 14 May 2010.

READ | 'Why must I be arrested?' - Former Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa on R1.2bn tender corruption case 

"The SIU was to investigate the procurement and contracting for goods and services in respect of the provisioning of a Health Information System and Electronic Health Records (HIS and e-HR) by the department during or about December 2007. They also had to investigate all the irregularities surrounding the contract," Ngwema said.

Brian Hlongwa was the Gauteng Health MEC at the time. On Thursday, the DA questioned why he too had not been arrested.

Hlongwa said it was the NPA who made decisions about who to arrest, and that despite allegations being made against him, he was still a free man.

The case has been postponed to 3 December.

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