Please find an attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.
The DA has written to the Ministers of Health and Police, Dr Joe Phaahla and Bheki Cele, respectively to enquire whether criminal charges have been laid against Dr Anban Pillay, as recommended by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) Report into the Digital Vibes scandal.
The SIU recommended that Dr Pillay be criminally prosecuted for financial misconduct, as envisaged under the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
Should the Ministers confirm that a charge has not been laid, the DA will open a case against Dr Pillay.
Dr Pillay’s punishment of a final written warning valid for 15 months, suspension without pay for three months, and a salary level demotion for 12 months for the four charges against him of which he was found guilty of one, is hardly sufficient for the irregular and fruitless and wasteful expenditure of R152 million. This malfeasance involving money meant to educate and inform the public on how to protect themselves against Covid-19 is inexcusable.
The SIU Report indicated that Dr Pillay committed fraud when he made numerous material intentional misrepresentations in a letter he wrote to National Treasury on 11 May 2020 in an attempt to obtain belated approval from Treasury to deviate from normal procurement procedures. As part of the Tender Evaluation Committee (TEC), Dr Pillay and his co-conspirators, Popo Maja and Shireen Pardesi, irregularly and irrationally favoured Digital Vibes and ensured they get the contract.
Dr Pillay’s current punishment does not fit the crime. It sends the message that there is no consequences for collusion or corruption. While the South African public were suffering through losing loved ones, unemployment and wondering where their next meal will come from, the ANC government and their comrades were living large on taxpayers’ expense. We all deserve to see justice for this travesty.