Fraud case against former City of Cape Town employee postponed

Fraud case against former City of Cape Town employee postponed

Fraud case against former City of Cape Town employee postponed

The Bellville Commercial Crimes Court postponed the case against Paul Matthew Hatting, who has been charged with fraud, corruption and money laundering following a R49 million City of Cape Town tender.

Also read: Former Eskom manager found guilty of fraud totaling half a million rand

As per the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa, the state alleges that while Hatting was a member of the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC), he hid his conflict of interest and recommended a R49.992 million tender for the supply and delivery of black refuse bags to C’Est Gyms.

C’Est Gyms was registered as a close corporation with Shu Wei Lu and Irene September as members. Although September did not actively participate in the company’s running, Lu conducted the day-to-day operations. The company has been registered as a service provider with the City of Cape Town since 2006.

Among three others, the company was awarded the tender and paid R10.4 million into the bank account of Hatting’s company, of which he was the sole director with signing powers.

He has been employed as an administrative officer for supply chain management at C’Est Gyms’ Ndabeni store since March 2002. He was also a storekeeper and technical advisor and understood who the City of Cape Town’s service providers were.

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The State alleges that Hatting conspired with others (unknown to the state) to influence the tender process for refuse bags by the City of Cape Town from C’Est Gyms, as the company would regularly pay an amount into his bank account.

He became a member of the City’s BEC in 2009. The BEC is responsible for evaluating and providing the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) with recommendations on who should be awarded a tender by the City of Cape Town. Once the BAC accepts recommendations from the BEC, it awards tenders to successful applicants.

Members of the BEC are required to sign a Conflict-of-Interest Declaration, in which the member declares any conflict of interest that he or she may have in regard to a pending tender. Should a conflict of interest arise, the member must recuse themselves while the BEC determines whether such a conflict had any impact on the tender process.

Hatting did, however, sign a conflict-of-interest declaration and undertaking of confidentiality on 16 September 2008, while he was a member of the BEC. He declared that he had no direct or indirect interest in respect of any of the tenders or bidders for the tender, nor any financial interest. He also declared that he did not have any immediate relatives or acquaintances with a financial interest in the tender, nor any personal bias or inclination that would in any way affect his decisions about the subject, nor any personal obligation, allegiance, or loyalty that would in any way affect his decisions about the subject, nor any personal social benefits or financial gains that may come about as a consequence of the award of a contract.

The State alleges that he raked in more than R49 million from these misrepresentations and used his benefits for personal expenses, citing 87 transactions valued in excess of R800 000, 39 cash withdrawals valued at more than R2.2 million, and payments made to Mercedes Benz and McCarthy Toyota under the name PM Hatting.

He allegedly also transferred funds to companies he had a relationship with, including six transactions to the value of R216 000 to Cosmic Gold 532 (a general trading company he bought from his son’s mother in 2008) and 19 transactions valued at more than R224 000 to Ttanc Trading, all of which constituted money laundering.

The case has been postponed to 26 June 2023, so that Hatting can consult with his lawyers.

Also read:

Former attorney wanted by Interpol arrested in Paarl

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