State cor­rup­tion’s catcher in the shy

CityPress - - News - ABRAM MASHEGO abram.mashego@city­press.co.za

The Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit (SIU) hardly gets me­dia head­lines, but it has main­tained a rep­u­ta­tion of get­ting the job done. This echoes the traits of its re­served new head, Ad­vo­cate Andy Moth­ibi, who took over its reins last year.

If Moth­ibi had his way, the unit would fo­cus on si­lently de­liv­er­ing blows to crim­i­nals within state in­sti­tu­tions in its re­lent­less fight against fraud and cor­rup­tion, with­out at­tract­ing the at­ten­tion of the me­dia. City Press spent months try­ing to se­cure an in­ter­view with him.

He agreed to dis­cuss the suc­cesses of the unit be­cause it strength­ens its strat­egy of ef­fec­tively end­ing the prob­lem of un­scrupu­lous civil ser­vants and sup­pli­ers over­charg­ing govern­ment de­part­ments and get­ting away with it.

He wants his ten­ure to be de­fined by his ef­forts to pro­tect govern­ment from cor­rupt sup­pli­ers who have turned the state into a cash cow. Last year, the unit re­cov­ered R52 mil­lion that was paid back to the state fol­low­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of fi­nal for­fei­ture or­ders.

The unit has also re­ferred more than 300 cases to the Na­tional Pros­e­cut­ing Au­thor­ity’s as­set for­fei­ture unit in a bid to re­cover nearly R7 bil­lion stolen from state cof­fers in pre­vi­ous months through cor­rupt deals.

“Through SIU in­ter­ven­tions, con­tracts val­ued at R717 mil­lion were set aside and, as a re­sult, we were able to stop pay­ments val­ued at R310 mil­lion from be­ing made by the state. We re­main deter­mined to fight cor­rup­tion rig­or­ously and im­par­tially,” he said.

Moth­ibi, whose unit re­ports di­rectly to Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma, said the cor­rup­tion-bust­ing unit had and would in­ves­ti­gate cases re­gard­less of po­lit­i­cal back­ground, sta­tus and po­si­tion of the per­sons in­volved. A lawyer by pro­fes­sion, Moth­ibi said his of­fice has been ca­pac­i­tated to swiftly deal with procla­ma­tions and it has im­ple­mented a sys­tem where turn­around times will be im­proved.

He said the coun­try’s im­prove­ment – although slight – in cor­rup­tion in­dex rat­ings last year was good news, but “a lot more can still to be done”.

He said the unit was about to con­clude an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into fraud­u­lently ob­tained li­cences. “We are work­ing on im­ple­ment­ing the out­comes on this in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which will see a num­ber of these fraud­u­lently ob­tained li­cences be­ing can­celled,” he said.

TALK TO US Do you reckon that the SIU is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the fight against cor­rup­tion?

SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word SHY and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

PHOTO: LEON SADIKI

COR­RUP­TION BUSTER Head of the Spe­cial In­ves­ti­gat­ing Unit Ad­vo­cate Andy Moth­ibi

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