Former DG of Eastern Cape Office of the Premier and seven others released on bail, following allegations of R20 million tender fraud

Former DG of Eastern Cape Office of the Premier and seven others released on bail, following allegations of R20 million tender fraud

Eight high-ranking officials have been released on bail with strict conditions after they were arrested on allegations of R20 million in tender fraud.

The Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations (known as the Hawks) made the arrests in the early hours of Monday morning.

It is alleged that in January 2016, the Department of Education requested the Eastern Cape Office of the Premier (OTP) to assist in the emergency procurement of 72 temporary classrooms and furniture to be deployed in the Gqeberha and Uitenhage areas.

Hawks spokesperson, Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said a company was appointed for the tender worth more than R20 million.

Mgolodela said information was received implicating senior officials in following improper procurement processes during the appointment of the company.

“It was alleged that the preferred service provider was closely linked to the senior Office of the Premier officials and that delivery of the said classrooms was not completed within the province, but funds allocated accordingly were exhausted.”

All eight officials made their first appearance in the Zwelitsha Magistrate’s Court charged with fraud, forgery, utterance, money laundering, and contravention of Section 86(1) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

The accused are as follows:

– The two accused from the Eastern Cape office of the Premier are Marion Mbina-Mthembu, 57, the former director-general, and Myirhakazi Hannah Ntsingila, 56, the former Deputy Director and financial specialist who was appointed as the project manager in the office.

– The former acting Head of Department in the Eastern Cape Department of Education, Sizakele Nontsikelelo Netshilaphala, 55.

– Athi Canzi Magwentshu, 45, Deon Gerhard Pieterson,71, and Akabonwa Nelson Lephoko, 67,company directors of Habitat Modular Construction (Pty), which was allegedly fraudulently awarded the tender.

– Koleka Mthembu, 56, the director of the company GRM Internal Audit and IT Risk Consulting, wherein the payments for the project were allegedly deposited for distribution to the service providers.

– Ntebellang Nkoane, 41, is the director of Forward We Go Co-operative, which was allegedly in a joint venture with Habitat Modular Construction.

“The accused were released on bail amounting to between R5,000 and R10,000, depending on their respective circumstances, with stringent bail conditions.”

She said the matter would return to court on April 5 for copies of the docket and the indictments.

IOL News