A ministerial committee to deal with allegations of corruption associated with the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been appointed, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Thursday.The committee’s appointment follows a Cabinet decision taken at its meeting, which has also appointed Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola to chair the grouping, the president said.
The committee will look into alleged corruption in the procurement of personal protective equipment, goods and services sourced for the purpose of containing and responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ramaphosa said.
The president said he had requested all ministers and regional premiers to provide Covid-19 procurement information on the names of companies, and details of tenders and contracts awarded by national ministries, provincial governments and public entities during the current National State of Disaster.
The government came under fire over widespread reports that tenders and contracts for the procurement of goods and services from various clients had been corrupted in the past four months of the virus.
In fact, the administration’s usual strict procurement procedures to secure state goods and services were lifted in order to speed up the process to secure the urgently needed emergency equipment and services to stop the disease.
The committee will prepare a comprehensive report which the president intends to release as public information, the president said.
Apart from the ministerial committee, Ramaphosa has also ordered the security agents to probe those suspected of alleged corruption in the procurement of the Covid-19 goods and services.