Free State municipal director granted bail in R38m tender fraud case | The Citizen

Free State municipal director granted bail in R38m tender fraud case | The Citizen

Tsikang allegedly overlooked fraudulent tender documents to negotiate a R200 000 kickback fee from the service provider.

Letsemeng Local Municipality technical director Dineo Tsikang, accused of tender fraud and receiving monthly kickbacks, was granted R50 000 bail in the Koffiefontein Magistrate’s Court, Free State.

Tsikang appeared alongside her co-accused director of service provider, Nkhesebo Solutions, Sebolelo Mochesane.

The director’s bail was set at R80 000.

The duo were arrested on Monday by the Hawks’ serious corruption unit after a whistleblower detailed the alleged fraud and corruption at Koffiefontein-based Letsemeng.

Also sitting in the public gallery in support of Tsikang was Xhariep District Municipality finance MMC Abrahm Lebaka, who allegedly received kickbacks from a pit latrine contractor back when he was Letsemeng mayor.

The Public Protector is investigating the corruption allegations against Lebaka.

Xhariep oversees Letsemeng, Kopanong, Mohokare and Naledi local municipalities.

Invalid contract

The investigation commenced after a whistleblower reported Tsikang to the Hawks in December last year.

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He submitted a dossier detailing the alleged corrupt relationship between the parties when Tsikang was acting municipal manager.

At that time, Tsikang held dual positions as director and acting municipal manager under ex-mayor Lebaka.

The State alleges that on 15 May 2022, a bid for a bulk water upgrade tender for Koffiefontein and Ditlhake township areas was advertised at R38 million.

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The closing date was 13 June 2022 and Nkhesebo Solutions were one of the bidders.

However, it was discovered that Bloemfontein-based Nkhesebo submitted a fake performance certificate and an appointment letter.

Alleged kickbacks

As acting municipal manager, Tsikang allegedly swept the discrepancy under the carpet in exchange for kickbacks from the service provider.

“She leveraged the fraudulent documents and negotiated a R200 000 monthly kickback from the service provider,” said an insider close to the investigation.

Investigators conducted a search and seizure at Letsemeng on 6 January this year, taking documents and payment files with them.

Tsikang faces charges of fraud, corruption and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

Her co-accused is charged with alleged forgery and uttering, fraud and contravention of the MFMA.

Tsikang is still the technical director with her contract being renewed on a month-to-month basis after it expired in June.

The case was postponed to March 2024 for further investigation.

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