Durban — The defence in the corruption and fraud case against the former mayor of eThekwini, Zandile Gumede, and others wanted the case to be dismissed in the Durban High Court on Monday.
The defence claimed the City Integrity and Investigations Unit (CIIU) did not follow the right procedures to appoint a company that was going to investigate tender irregularities which led to Gumede and the others being arrested.
Gumede and her co-accused face more than 2 000 charges, including conspiracy to commit corruption, corruption, fraud, money laundering, racketeering, contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act and contravention of the Municipal Systems Act amounting to more than R300 million in relation to a DSW tender.
Advocate Jimmy Howse, representing one of the accused, cross-examined the second witness, a senior manager at CIIU, Shawn Hitler, about how Investigations and Forensic Solutions (IFS) got the contract to investigate the tender irregularities.
Hitler admitted in court that the IFS was hand-picked to investigate this matter.
Howse then read a document which consisted of procedures to be followed when an external company is to be handed a tender to investigate.
“You violated the processes of selecting a company to investigate this matter. The court should consider the investigation unlawful and irregular. This case should be dismissed,” argued Howse.
Howse further accused the CIIU of being clumsy and not investigating the matter properly, hence they ended up violating procedures.
Hitler disputed that. He replied: “If we were clumsy we would not be here in court for this matter.”
Hitler explained to the court that in the stack of documents that were alerting them about the tender irregularities – which were left at their reception anonymously – they did not see the need to investigate whether the service providers had received money without rendering services.
“In the documents, it was stated that the companies were paid without services being rendered.
“We also noticed that an individual associated with the service providers who was being investigated was also mentioned in these documents we had received anonymously,” said Hitler.
The next witness to take the stand was Ibrahim Mohamed, who is currently a senior administration officer in the City. However, what left everyone confused was that the State asked Mohamed about issues irrelevant to this case. He was asked about the letter he wrote and signed in 2012 and 2013 for companies that had been awarded tenders.
Mohamed said in 2012 and 2013 he was the senior clerk in the municipality and his job was paperwork, not making decisions. He wrote letters which were given to companies after they had been awarded a tender by the City.
In court, there was no mention of the first witness, who is the head of CIIU, Mbuso Ngcobo. Previously when the matter was set in court, Ngcobo was booked off sick and could not finish his testimony. Recently the Daily News reported that he has resigned from being CIIU head for fear of his life. Ngcobo added that he opened a case with the police because of the seriousness of the threats he was receiving.
He claimed he received detailed threats via telephone where the caller told him to stop his investigations in eThekwini. The matter continues today (Tuesday).
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.