In a significant development, a Gauteng doctor, Obakeng Stephen Mookeletsi, an employee of the health department, and Jabu Mahlangu, the sole director of Triakon Engineering Pty (Ltd), have appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court. Both individuals face fraud, theft, and money laundering charges concerning an alleged irregular payment of R621,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
IOL reports that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) disclosed that the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) initiated the case following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s proclamation authorising the SIU to investigate corruption and maladministration in the Gauteng health department.
According to Phindi Louw, NPA Gauteng spokesperson, the case revolves around a payment made to Mahlangu’s company to supply and deliver personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic. Triakon was appointed through a quote system by the Gauteng Department of Health. However, on May 20, 2020, the department cancelled PPE orders from Triakon, citing failure to meet acceptable gown standards.
Further investigations uncovered that Mahlangu’s company had previously claimed over R9 million but received more than R4 million in payments. Dr Mookeletsi, an employee at Leratong Hospital, was arrested on allegations of receiving PPE stock on behalf of the Gauteng health department without proper authorisation.
Despite being informed not to make further deliveries, Triakon allegedly continued and later claimed the delivered PPE as a donation. The Gauteng Department of Health received an invoice for the “donated” equipment, which was processed and paid to Triakon’s account.
Both accused, Dr Mookeletsi and Mahlangu, were released on bail of R10,000 each and are scheduled to appear in court on February 6. The NPA emphasised that the prosecution is aligned with SIU investigation outcomes, aiming to address any wrongdoing uncovered during the investigations. The case has been postponed for further examination as the legal process unfolds.
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