Merc V Class bought for senior govt official to award R4m PPE tender to be auctioned by SIU

Mercedes-Benz V-Class. Picture: SIU/Twitter

Mercedes-Benz V-Class. Picture: SIU/Twitter

Published Mar 6, 2023


Cape Town – The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) says the Mercedes Benz V Class which was bought by a company for a senior government official as gratification for awarding a R4m tender for personal protective equipment (PPE) will now be auctioned to recover the money that the State has lost.

On Monday afternoon, the SIU announced that the vehicle had been forfeited to the state and would be sold to recover the money that the state had lost.

On Friday, IOL reported that the High Court in East London granted the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit an order for the forfeiture of the car which was bought for a senior Eastern Cape Department of Education official as gratification for awarding a tender for the supply of PPE.

The Mercedes-Benz V Class was purchased through an elaborate money laundering scheme which involved the payment of R328 000 by the supplier, Sigqibo Makupula of Kups Trading, for a deposit to purchase the R800 000 vehicle for the chief director of supply chain management, Marius Harmse.

Eastern Cape NPA regional spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said the court had granted the AFU a preservation order of R328 000.

Tyali further said that the court had now ordered that the state assume control of the vehicle, dispose of it through sale, and deposit the proceeds into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account (Cara), as the vehicle was an instrument of corruption and represented the proceeds of unlawful activities.

Tyali said that Harmse was responsible for the department that signed off on the tender that resulted in Makupula being paid R4 million by the Eastern Cape Department of Education in August 2020.

“He was therefore conflicted when he accepted the R328 000, paid as a deposit on the Mercedes V Series from Ronnies Motors.”

Tyali indicated the forfeiture order was part of the law enforcement agency's efforts to combat corruption and return criminal profits to the state.