Join BizNews webinar on corruption: NPA, SIU leaders answer YOUR questions. Unmissable!

BizNews colleague and veteran broadcaster Tim Modise hosts a free-to-air webinar every Thursday at noon, where he and the BizNews community put questions to high profile guests. This week’s guests are the head of the country’s great hope in the fight against corruption: Special Investigating Unit head Advocate Andy Mothibi; Sipho Ngwema, the spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority; and Advocate Selby Makgotho of the Special Tribunal. We share some details about them ahead of this week’s BizNews Thursday Noontime webinar. – Claire Badenhorst

Andy Mothibi

Advocate Andy Mothibi

Advocate Andy Mothibi was appointed as the head of the South African Special Investigating Unit (SIU) in 2016. Four years later, he is at the forefront of an organisation committed to building cases against some of the state’s biggest plunderers. “Our organisation plays a vital role in fighting fraud, corruption, and maladministration,” he says. “Part of that is enforcing critical anti-corruption legislation and encouraging good governance practices within state institutions.”

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit South African shores, the SIU was mainly inundated with the likes of luxury car purchases and inflated government contracts. However, allegations of fraud and corruption related to the R500bn that government allocated to ease the impact of Covid-19 has the SA public out for blood.

The SIU has been working closely with the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to ensure it picks up the pace on tackling corruption. “We have to ensure that there is prosecution, civil litigation and recovery of all monies lost.”

Also read: Covid-19 just makes the corruption pot bigger, activist says

Sipho Ngwema

Sipho Ngwema

Ex-Scorpion Sipho Ngwema was named the new spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) from 1 June 2020. Before that, Ngwema served as the head of communications at the Competition Commission and as a member of the elite investigative unit (also known as the Scorpions).

Ngwema is a renowned South African media and reputation management strategist with a wealth of knowledge on the workings of the private, public and the NGO sectors. He was one of the first employed at the NPA when it began in 1998. Now, he has joined their ranks once again and plans to haul the architects of state capture (and other crooks) before the courts.

The NPA has been at the forefront of the case against VBS Bank, where R2bn in bank funds disappeared. In June, seven of the eight accused VBS insiders pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering.

Also read: Chuck Stephens: Can SA really expect justice against corruption?

Selby Makgotho

Selby Makgotho

Advocate Selby Makgotho is the spokesperson for the SIU’s Special Tribunal, which aims to recover public funds bled from the fiscus through corruption, fraud and illicit money flows. In November last year, the Tribunal received its first batch of cases against state departments. “The cases mainly relate to malpractices and irregular or fraudulent awarding of contracts,” Makgotho explains. “We seek suspension and interdicts for those responsible for the looting of billions of rands.” In 2019, the value of cases ready for recovery stood at a jaw-dropping R14,7bn.

More recently, the Special Tribunal has ordered the SIU to complete investigations into allegations of financial irregularities against former North West Health Head of Department, Dr Andrew Thabo Lekalakala. The amount in question is estimated at around R30m. “In terms of the ruling, the SIU has got two months to conduct and complete investigations,” says Makgatho.

*Join the conversation on corruption this Thursday (6 August) at Tim Modise’s noon free-to-air webinar. As part of our valued BizNews community, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and prod the minds of our high profile guests. It’s not to be missed. Register here.