DURBAN - The Asset Forfeiture Unit has started recovering money from officials who were arrested by the Hawks for allegedly defrauding the Department of Social Development (DSD) of money through the irregular awarding of tenders in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.
That was according to DSD Minister Lindiwe Zulu who was responding to a parliamentary written question.
The EFF’s Dr Sophie Thembekwayo had asked Zulu what steps she and/or her department had taken to ensure that money was recovered from officials who were arrested by the Hawks for allegedly defrauding her department of money through the irregular awarding of tenders in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KZN.
Zulu said matters of this nature took time, as they involved thorough investigation by law enforcement agencies.
“In 2014, Sassa (South African Social Security Agency) through its internal investigations identified the irregular payment of invoices amounting to R4 879 023.20 in respect of services rendered during the Ministerial Outreach Programme that took place in Engcobo and Nelson Mandela District in the Eastern Cape,” Zulu said.
Sassa opened a criminal case in terms of Section 300 of the Criminal Procedure Act, and this was registered on the East London Crime Administration System (CAS), she said.
“The services were provisioned by service providers from EC, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. When the first leg of arrests of 10 company directors by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (Hawks) was carried out, it included the service providers from KZN and Gauteng. DPCI, through its criminal investigations, estimated the loss at R12 million.
“The DPCI has formally informed Sassa that the second leg of arrests will be targeted at Sassa officials, as well as members of the public who were involved in defrauding the agency,” she said.
Zulu said with reference to loss recovery, the Asset Forfeiture Unit had started with the recovery process. The process would go in tandem with criminal prosecution.