Two government officials and five company directors have been charged with defrauding the Free State Department of Health out of more than R8-million.
This after an internal investigation revealed more than R8-million was paid to service providers, while no evidence could be found that they had rendered the services.
The seven suspects were arrested by the Hawks on Friday and face charges of fraud, forgery, uttering, money laundering, and corruption.
According to Hawks spokesperson, Captain Christopher Singo, the alleged fraud was discovered during an audit of the department by a team from the Auditor-General's office.
The team requested information on certain payments to service providers and queried the department’s procurement process.
"As a result, an internal investigation followed whereby it was discovered that false or forged 'requests for payment advices' were submitted during the period of January 2011 until December 2015, for payments with regards to the service providers. It is further alleged that no evidence could be found whether the actual services were rendered by the service providers," Singo said.
As a result of the alleged fraud, the department suffered a total loss of more than R8-million, he added.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated matter, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) announced on Monday that it had started investigations into 2 101 personal protective equipment (PPE) deals awarded by the Gauteng government. The deals are worth R6.328-billion.