Western Cape Government Announces Second Set of Arrests after Corruption-Busting Drive
On Friday, 9 March 2012, the South African Police Service in George arrested eight individuals, including some former employees of the Western Cape Department of Health, on charges of fraud and corruption. The arrests followed a forensic investigation led by audit firm Deloitte as part of its contract with the Forensic Investigation Unit (FIU) in the Department of the Premier to detect and prevent fraud and corruption proactively in the Western Cape Government.
This was the second set of arrests after eight other people in George had previously been arrested on Friday, 3 February 2012, for illegally selling government baby formula supplies and another employee had been suspended for defrauding the local Paarl Hospital of almost R2 million. The first set of arrests happened less than 48 hours after the FIU received evidence of the criminal activities occurring.
Deloitte's specialised forensic investigators have been working with the Forensic Investigation Unit since December 2011 as outsourced contractors and tasked with assisting to root out corruption and recover money misappropriated or stolen from the public sector in a public-private partnership that is underpinned by the Western Cape Government's "Better Together" approach. In addition to detecting and preventing financial irregularities in the Western Cape, Deloitte have been mandated with strengthening internal capacity by helping to recruit and train a team of forensic investigators that will continue as a fully functioning and self-sustainable forensics unit once Deloitte's services have been disengaged.
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille stated that by partnering with Deloitte to leverage its specialised forensic investigation resources, the Western Cape Government was displaying its commitment to rid the public service of fraud and criminal misconduct and to make good on its promise to root out corruption in the public sector and ensure clean governance. Western Cape Health Minister Theuns Botha echoed this message saying, "In terms of the strategic objectives of the Health Department, we expect every employee to commit to ethical behaviour in the interest of our patients. The forensic team will bring to book anyone defrauding the system. We are committed to eradicate corruption. We need to stretch every health rand to achieve more with the same. I'm thankful for the professional work done by the SAPS in this regard."
Director of Risk Advisory at Deloitte and a former member of the now-disbanded Scorpions, Graham Dawes, said, "Since our appointment in December 2011, we have displayed our commitment to helping the Western Cape Government achieve their commitment to clean up the public sector. We have significant capacity and expertise in forensic investigations and are putting these to use in saving taxpayers millions of rands by bringing cases like these to a swift conclusion."
The corruption-busting work of the FIU has also been aided greatly by the assistance and co-operation of the South African Police Service in George. Premier Zille lauded their role in the partnership commenting, "The South African Police Services have been brilliant in working with us to deal with these cases. They play a critical role in helping us clamp down on corruption. The successful collaboration between the FIU in the Western Cape Government, Deloitte as a private firm and the SAPS in George to uncover and fight corruption is what we mean by 'Better Together'."
The docket of the first set of arrests is currently with the public prosecutor for assessment and decision with a concurrent FIU investigation underway. The eight people who were part of the second set of arrests appeared in court on Friday, 9 March 2012, and were released on bail. Their cases have been remanded until 18 May.