EC Health messenger nabbed in R23 million PPE contract

An Eastern Cape Health Department messenger will face the full might of the law after he was this week charged with forging a signature in a document relating to a R23 million procurement contract for personal protective equipment (PPE).

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has in a statement on Friday welcomed the arrest.

The suspect, Ayanda Matinise, is a messenger in the office of the MEC. On Thursday, he appeared in the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court on charges of fraud, forgery and uttering.

He was released on a R1000 bail and the matter was remanded to 31 August 2021 for trial.

In the statement, the SIU said Matinise’s prosecution by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) follows an intensive investigation conducted by the SIU in the Department of Health.

In its investigation the SIU uncovered evidence pointing to criminal action and in particular fraud and forgery.

“[The] SIU investigation revealed that Mr Matinise forged a signature of Director of Supply Chain and awarded a tender to a service provider for supply and delivery of PPE. The service provider was to deliver N95 masks to the cash value of more than R23.4 million to OR Tambo District Department of Health offices.

“The service provider submitted invoices for payment to be effected after delivering the masks. However, no payment was made as the procurement committee knew nothing about the awarding of such tender. The service provider was then requested to bring the award letter. It was discovered that the content of the award letter including signatures were fraudulent.”

The evidence, as required by the SIU Act, was referred to the NPA and also to the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) for further attention.

In 2020 the SIU was directed in terms of Proclamation R23 of 2020, to investigate the procurement of or contracting for PEE services in response to COVID-19 pandemic by State institutions and payments that were made in respect thereof.

The Matinise matter is one many PPE matters referred to the NPA and Hawks for further action.

The SIU said it was working closely with the NPA and Hawks in this regard and would continue to work together to ensure that all role players identified through our investigations in the alleged PPE crimes are held accountable. – SAnews.gov.za

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