SIU orders Zweli Mkhize to repay gratification

According to the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the health minister, Zweli Mkhize, received R6,720 from Digital Vibes, allegedly for maintenance at a Bryanston property, while his son received R3.8m. These monies allegedly amount to undue gratification as there is no evidence that they did any work for Digital Vibes. Mkhize and his son Dedani have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority to consider charging them for corruption over “suspicious” payments they received from Digital Vibes.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU), seeking to recoup millions of rand spent on the controversial Digital Vibes contract, has accused Mkhize of unlawful and improper conduct for his role and wants his family to repay just under R4m.

This is contained in court papers the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) filed at the Special Tribunal on Thursday, where it is trying to recover R150m that was allegedly unlawfully paid by the department of health to Digital Vibes, a company owned by Mkhize’s close associate Tahera Mather.

In her founding affidavit, SIU lead investigator Rajendra Chunilall contends that evidence they have on the duo constitutes offences under several sections of the prevention and combating of corrupt activities act (Precca), and she wants the NPA to consider bringing charges.

The following funds directly or indirectly received by these parties from Digital Vibes constitute undue gratification or were transferred for purposes of money laundering or as the proceeds of unlawful activities and derive from the unlawful payments that Digital Vibes received from the NDOH in terms of the impugned transactions, which were made without any proof of goods, works of services (i.e. value) rendered by such parties in exchange for such funds (i.e. these parties were directly or indirectly unduly enriched to the ultimate detriment of the NDOH),” Chunilall contends in her affidavit.

“The SIU’s investigations have revealed evidence that the impugned transactions took place in circumstances constituting the commission of offences in terms, inter alia, section 3 read with sections 24 and 26 of the prevention and combating of corrupt activities act, 2004 (Act No 12 of 2004) committed by, inter alia, the fifth (Mkhize) and sixth (Dedani) respondents. This evidence has been referred to National Prosecuting Authority by the SIU in terms of sections 4(1)(d) and 4(2) of the SIU act,” Chunilall says in the papers.

“Certain evidence is relied upon to support grounds of review of the impugned transactions and it is accordingly necessary to provide the evidence supporting this contention. The fifth and sixth respondents accordingly have an interest in this application sufficient for them be ‘interested parties’ in terms of the SIU Act, and the SIU is seeking relief against them, as set out in the notice of motion (i.e. repayment of any and all funds that they directly or indirectly received from Digital Vibes, Ms [Tahera] Mather, Ms [Naadhira] Mitha, Ms [Radha] Hariram and/or from persons or entities associated with them.”​  

Mkhize has consistently denied any these allegations and said that Mather was not his personal friend. He also denied benefiting from the Digital Vibes deal.

The SIU wants to recover the R150m from Digital Vibes, its owners or controllers as well as any individual who participated “in the fraudulent and unlawful scheme” including Mkhize and his son Dedani.

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