South Africa: SIU Launches East London Industrial Development Zone Investigation

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has confirmed that it will investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration, at the East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ) in the Eastern Cape.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed Proclamation R.20 of 2021.

The proclamation authorises the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the affairs of ELIDZ, and to recover any financial losses suffered.

"The investigation will focus on the management of the Infrastructure Maintenance and Renewals Fund (IMRF) and the appropriation of the funds of the IMRF to the tune of R30 million," the SIU said in a statement on Tuesday.

Also to be probed, will be the management or appropriation of funds received from the Department of Trade and Industry amounting to R21 million; appropriation of funds earmarked for the IMRF for other purposes; and the settlement that was paid to a former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the ELIDZ.

The SIU said the investigation comes after it was alleged that ELIDZ charged the former CFO with misconduct in November 2013 and later paid a settlement without any disciplinary hearing.

"According to the whistle-blower who brought the allegations to the SIU, the settlement was not disclosed in the financial statements," reads the statement.

The SIU will also investigate the procurement by the development zone of the Alexander Golf Course, eight properties including a farm and payments made in a manner that was not fair, competitive, transparent, equitable or cost-effective; or contrary to applicable legislation.

Furthermore, the SIU will investigate any improper or unlawful conduct by employees or officials of ELIDZ; or any other person or entity, relating to the allegations being investigated.

Evidence pointing to criminal conduct will be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), as well as the Hawks in the South African Police Service (SAPS) for further action.

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