First Eastern Cape COVID-19 fraud case in court

First Eastern Cape COVID-19 fraud case in court

The Hawks have made the unit’s first Eastern Cape arrest regarding the misappropriation of COVID-19 funds.

Pumza Gambula (49) appeared before the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court early on Thursday on two fraud charges, amounting to R4.8 million.

The OR Tambo District Municipality contracted Gambula’s company, Phathilizwi Training Institute, to conduct COVID-19 door-to-door community awareness workshops.

While the company did visit residents of Mhlontlo and Port St John’s Local Municipalities, they allegedly never conducted the workshops that they have submitted invoices for. They instead allegedly asked community members to write down their names for COVID-19 social grants.

The prosecuting team says attendance registers attached to the invoices as proof of services rendered contained names of people who were not staying in some of the wards that were visited by the accused as part of their “door-to-door awareness campaign.

These documents were widely circulated on social media and sparked a public outcry. 

Gambula was never paid for the  R3 036 000 and R1 821 600 invoices she submitted between March and June. However, the state says the municipality stood to suffer a potential prejudice by means of the said false pretenses.

Gambula has been granted R20 000 bail and is due back in court next week Friday.

The court has ordered her to hand over her passport to the investigating officer and report to Madeira Police Station twice a week until the trial is finalised.

Mtititi Drop In Centre’s director appears in court for COVID-19 relief funds fraud

Mtititi Drop In Centre’s director appears in court for COVID-19 relief funds fraud

Mtititi Drop In Centre’s director, Hlamalani Dorris Mashimbye has appeared before the Malamulele Magistrate Court for fraud charges.

The Hawks in Limpopo arrested the 47-year-old last week.

Spokesperson Captain Matimba Maluleke says her arrest follows a complaint of fraud from Mtititi community, outside Malamulele.

Residents accused the suspect of having claimed R3.2 million COVID-19 social relief funds from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) on behalf of her 242  former Malamulele based Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers.

However, the workers were allegedly never paid.

The crime was allegedly committed between April and August 2020.

Hawks says investigations revealed that the workers’ contracts were terminated before the President declared a COVID-19 lockdown.

The funds from which the suspect is accused of having claimed from are meant for workers who had been affected by the lockdown.

The suspect has been remanded in custody.

She will return to court next week Monday for a formal bail application. – Report by Tshepo Maeko from Radio Turf