SIU denies sending letter to Presidency over Khusela Diko’s alleged Digital Vibes payout

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The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) has seemingly refrained from commenting on whether former presidential spokesperson Khusela Diko received funds from the controversial Digital Vibes’ R150 million contract.

Letter

The matter comes after Mail & Guardian reported on Monday that the SIU had sent a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office.

According to the publication, R1 million was paid into Diko’s personal account, rather than of her late husband, Thandisizwe Diko.

This was then allegedly reported to the Presidency.

However, the investigating unit has since dismissed these claims.

ALSO READ: Will Khusela Diko be redeployed to GCIS as deputy DG?

“The SIU noted the publication by the Mail & Guardian on Monday regarding the ongoing investigation into the allegations of procurement irregularities relating to Digital Vibes and in particular to the allegations relating to Ms Khusela Diko.

“The SIU would like to put it on record that we have not sent any letter or report to the President’s office, in relation to this matter, as alleged in the report.

“The report by the Mail & Guardian is misleading the public as the investigation on this matter is ongoing and the SIU will submit the report to the President once the investigation is concluded,” SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said in a statement on Monday.

The SIU, meanwhile, did not clarify on whether Diko actually received R1 million from the Digital Vibes contract.

Digital Vibes

The SIU carried out the probe into the irregular tender earlier this year after claims that former health minister Zweli Mkhize and his family personally benefited from the contract, which was for the department’s National Health Insurance (NHI) communication work and later, Covid-19 media campaigns.

The investigating unit’s report alleges that senior health department officials broke procurement rules to favour the firm.

An unnamed official from the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) was also fingered by the
SIU in the matter.

Ramaphosa received the SIU’s final report in July, but was only made public in late September.

Redeployment

It was previously confirmed by the Presidency that Diko would not return as Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, saying she would be redeployed to a different position in the public service.

This followed the conclusion of Diko’s disciplinary process.

The Presidency had initiated an internal disciplinary process against Diko after she took special leave in July 2020, in light of an investigation by the SIU into personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement at the Gauteng department of health.

READ MORE: Diko slams ‘stubborn patriarchy’ that expects women to account for spouses’ dealings

This was in relation to the awarding of two contracts by the provincial department to Royal Bhaca, a company owned by Diko’s late husband.

While Diko was cleared of any wrongdoing in the awarding of a R125 million PPE tender, she failed to disclose her interests in certain companies as required by public service regulations on the disclosure of financial interests.

She was then served with a written warning for the offence, while her suspension also lifted.

Source: citizen