Johannesburg – The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) on Friday announced it has been authorised by President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate allegations of serious maladministration in the affairs of the Office of the Premier in the Free State.
The anomalies were identified by the Auditor-General in reports which are titled Report of the Auditor-General to the Free State Legislature on vote no. 1: Department of the Premier dated 31 July 2019 and 27 October 2020.
The SIUs investigation will also focus on the Office of the Premiers annual report for the 2017/2018 financial year.
During that period Ace Magshule was the Premier of the Free State.
The SIU will probe the approval, allocation, or payment of bursaries, including travel, accommodation, and stipends to persons who were not entitled or were given in a manner that contradict the applicable manuals, policies, procedures, prescripts, instructions, or practices of the Office of the Premier.
The probe will also look into payments made in respect of student accommodation, including the causes of such maladministration and any related unauthorised, irregular, or fruitless and wasteful expenditure incurred by the Office of the Premier or losses suffered by the Office of the Premier or the State.
Furthermore, the SIU said it will investigate any irregular, improper or unlawful conduct by officials or employees of the Office of the Premier or any other person or entity, relating to the matters that fall within this investigation.
The SIU said the proclamation covers allegations of unlawful and improper conduct that took place between 1 January 2018 and 9 June 2023.
The SIU is empowered to institute civil action in the High Court or a Special Tribunal in its name, to correct any wrongdoing uncovered during its investigations caused by acts of corruption, fraud, or maladministration.
In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, the SIU will refer any evidence pointing to criminal conduct it uncovers to the National Prosecuting Authority for further action.