South Africa: Life Esidimeni - SIU Special Tribunal Gunning for R5.5 Million From 13 NGOs

13 November 2019

The Special Investigating Unit's (SIU) Special Tribunal has issued summonses to 13 non-profit organisations implicated in unjustified enrichment emanating from the Life Esidimeni scandal.

The summonses were issued on Monday, tribunal spokesperson Selby Makgotho told News24 on Wednesday.

"At the moment we have issued summonses against the 13 defendants and are waiting for the return of service," he said.

Makgotho said the organisations allegedly submitted fraudulent invoices and ended up being overpaid. The tribunal was expected to recover an amount of R5.5m from the organisations through civil litigation, Makgotho said.

On Monday, the new tribunal announced that it had received its first batch of cases to commence with civil proceedings against government departments and state organs in an effort to recover the billions looted from the state.

The tribunal was established by President Cyril Ramaphosa in February, after an announcement to that effect in his State of the Nation Address, News24 previously reported.

In September, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola gazetted the regulations for the SIU's Special Tribunal.

These regulations came into effect upon their publication in the Government Gazette. The value of cases ready for adjudication and recovery stands at R14.7bn.

Makgotho said the tribunal also had a mandate to recover public funds siphoned from the fiscus through fraud and illicit money flows.

He said that the president of the tribunal, Judge Gidfonia Mlindelwa Makhanya, had met with its members and "expressed the need to move with the required speed on the work, especially because it has only three years in which to operate and finalise its work".

Makhanya will chair the tribunal for three years and is assisted by seven other judges: Icantharuby Pillay, Johannes Eksteen, Selewe Peter Mothle, Lebogang Modiba, Thina Siwendu, David van Zyl and Sirajudien Desai.

Source: News24

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