Submissions from the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) at the Special Tribunal have shed more light on alleged corruption and other transgressions relating to the R150-million Digital Vibes communications contract awarded by the Department of Health. Dedani Mkhize, the son of then-health minister Zweli Mkhize, allegedly collected boxes of cash from the company’s director.
Dedani Mkhize, the son of former health minister Zweli Mkhize, allegedly collected boxes and parcels stuffed with cash from one of the key figures in the R150-million Department of Health (DoH) corruption saga involving communications firm Digital Vibes.
According to new documents filed at the Special Tribunal by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), Dedani Mkhize met with Digital Vibes director Radha Hariram at a fuel station in Stanger, KwaZulu-Natal, where he allegedly collected cash directly related to the DoH contract.
The documents do not specify when the alleged cash pick-ups took place.
However, it is understood that Mkhize’s meetings with Hariram took place during 2020, when Digital Vibes was being paid millions of rands in staggered tranches for a National Health Insurance (NHI) and Covid-19 communications contract.
The SIU has argued that the contract had been unlawful and it is now seeking an order to have it set aside.
The unit also wants to recover the full R150-million from an array of first, second and third-tier recipients of the alleged loot, including Dedani and Zweli Mkhize, and from the scheme’s alleged masterminds, Tahera Mather and Naadhira Mitha.
The amount the SIU aims to recover from Dedani Mkhize stands at about R3.8-million.
This includes monies he allegedly collected in cash, along with other benefits linked to the deal that was first exposed by Daily Maverick Scorpio.
In a series of tweets Dedani Mkhize posted on a newly created Twitter account on Saturday, he denied that he had received R3.8-million, but admitted that he did receive money from Mather.
“The largest amount she gave was the R300k via EFT after a car accident,” he tweeted.
He hit out at the SIU’s “shoddy investigation”.
“U can see SIU doesn’t know how to allocate this R3.4m cash withdrawals so they’ve dumped it all with me. Money I never got!!!”, he tweeted.
The cash mentioned in the SIU’s latest filings was flushed through the account of a company called JD Communications, which had received at least R1.75-million from Digital Vibes without any proof of work done to justify the payments, the documents show.
JD Communications’ director, in turn, withdrew large sums of money in cash and allegedly handed it to Hariram, according to the documents.
Mather and Mitha allegedly also received some of the cash.
But it was Hariram who allegedly took charge of ensuring that Dedani Mkhize got his cut.
“Ms Hariram was then informed by Ms Mather that Mr Dedani Mkhize would collect the parcel from her,” reads one of the passages from the SIU’s bundle.
“Ms Hariram was then contacted by Mr Dedani Mkhize on several occasions prior to him collecting the parcel.”
“These collections would take place at the Dawnside Petrol service station where Ms Hariram was employed as a manager. This occurred about six times,” the SIU has alleged.
The same fuel station mentioned in this Scorpio report from March 2021, in which we revealed that Hariram worked there while allegedly running Digital Vibes.
This was the first sign that Hariram was not truly the controlling director of Digital Vibes.
The SIU has also identified R160 000 for a used vehicle purchased by Digital Vibes for Dedani Mkhize with the proceeds of the DoH contract, as well as R300 000 transferred to one of his companies, as previously revealed in Scorpio reports.
A further R6 720 has been set aside for recovery from former minister Mkhize himself for renovations at a property in Bryanston, which are being funded by Digital Vibes.
The SIU contends that Hariram merely pretended to be the director of Digital Vibes, while Mather and Mitha — who had longstanding ties to then-Minister Mkhize — actually ran and controlled the company.
“…the separate juristic personality of Digital Vibes was a sham, and the company was in fact a front concealing the involvement of Ms Mather and Ms Mitha, who were its true controlling minds despite not being directors, shareholders, or even employees of the company but ostensibly consultants,” according to the most recent filings.