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.