Gauteng DA asks Hawks to investigate Makhura

Gauteng DA asks Hawks to investigate Makhura

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has submitted a letter to the Hawks to begin investigation into Gauteng Premier, David Makhura.

The opposition submitted the letter to the Hawks in Pretoria on Thursday.

The party says the former Chief Financial Officer Kabelo Lehloenya implicated Makhura in the province’s COVID-19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) scandal.

DA Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanga, says the crime-fighting body must investigate the entire Gauteng government.

“We are here outside the offices of the Hawks here in Pretoria where we have come to give in a letter and also request investigation to be done into the office of the premier and to request that government of Gauteng really be investigated in terms of what has been happening since the pandemic has started,” he says.

Msimanga adds, “Right now we are talking about close to R2.8 billion that has really gone towards corruption and fruitless expenditure.”

The Gauteng DA leader says Lehloenya alleged that the premier gave her six companies to be awarded the contracts.

He says his party will table a motion of no confidence if investigations take time.

“We don’t have the confidence that the Gauteng departments will be able to investigate themselves within the province.

“We are asking for the Hawks and we also writing a letter to the Auditor General, the Special Investigating Unit, and the President of the country to look into this matter and really investigate what is happening and give us answers before we take steps further in terms of tabling a motion of no confidence into the premier in the legislature, even before the state of the province address is to take place.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the ANC Youth League have called for Makhura to vacate office.

Lepelle Water R45 mln fraud case returns to court

Lepelle Water R45 mln fraud case returns to court

Former Lepelle Northern Water Board Chief Executive Officer, Phineas Legodi, returns to court on Monday following his arrest for alleged involvement in fraud.

The Hawks arrested Legodi, the board’s chairperson of the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC), Gwako Micheal Moseamedi, and businessman, Emanuel Matome Sefalafala, more than a week ago.

They have been in jail since.

On Thursday, more accused were added in the R45 million tender fraud case.

They will be applying for bail at the Polokwane Magistrate Court today.

The seven, including a construction firm, Falaz General Trading and Construction (Pty) Ltd, face charges of fraud, alternatively theft, forgery and uttering, with Legodi facing an additional charge of contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.  

 “It is alleged that in 2018, the Lepelle Northern Water Board advertised a tender in the Limpopo Province for the collection, removal and disposal of hazardous waste management in 2018. Legodi was the CEO, an accounting officer of the Lepelle Northern Water Board, at the time,” says the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Based on the recommendations of the BEC, chaired by Moseamedi, and the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC), Legodi appointed Sefalafala’s company, Falaz General Trading and Construction, to render services.

Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, has welcomed the arrests, saying she hopes other cases involving officials in the Eastern and Western Capes are finalised soon.

She has dismissed claims that South Africa’s water boards are riddled with corruption.

“The vast majority of our water boards are run by men and women who are determined to ensure that our boards achieve their mandate of delivering water to South Africans,” she says.

She, however, added that her department will not have mercy on officials who are implicated in graft.

“We have a responsibility as civil servants to serve our people with honour and dignity. This is what we owe our forebears who sacrificed so much for us to have this freedom we enjoy today,” she says.

Legodi resigned as the CEO of Lepelle Water Board in August after losing a court battle to have his precautionary suspension set aside.

He was facing insubordination and maladministration at the time.

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