Mpumalanga businessman who tried to bribe SIU investigator in Covid-19 probe sent to jail for four years

Mpendulo Sipho Mapalala.Picture: @RSASIU Twitter

Mpendulo Sipho Mapalala.Picture: @RSASIU Twitter

Published Apr 7, 2023


Cape Town - The Mbombela Special Commercial Crimes Court has sentenced Mpumalanga businessman Mpendulo Sipho Mapalala to four years’ imprisonment for attempting to bribe a SIU investigator with R50 000 during a Covid-19 corruption investigation.

He is expected to serve time at the Mbombela Correctional Services Centre.

Mapalala was arrested as he delivered the cash to an SIU investigator he had been trying to bribe in exchange for them overlooking Covid-19 PPE corruption in the Mpumalanga Public Works Department.

Mapalala had attempted to make the bribe on the behalf of Gugu Bulungu, who was a service provider to the department through her company Mbombela Integrated, Thandolwani Transport and Properties.

The NPA secured a guilty plea from Mapalala in January on charges of corruption and bribery for attempting to bribe the SIU investigator.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the attempted bribe followed an SIU investigation into the affairs of the Mpumalanga Department of Public Works, Roads, and Transport, under proclamation R23 of 2020, which uncovered procurement irregularities.

Kganyago said SIU investigations revealed that the department contracted a service provider in the 2017/18 financial year for pest control services.

However, when a national state of disaster was declared, the department varied the contract to include disinfection services in the Ehlanzeni district.

“The disinfection services were for buildings owned and managed by the Mpumalanga provincial government in the said district.

“After the disinfection, the service provider received multiple payments amounting to R4.8m.

“The first payment was R1.3m in July 2020 and was followed by several payments amounting to R3.5m,” he said.

Kganyago said that SIU investigations also revealed that immediately after the first payment, the service provider started transferring large amounts of money to various entities and individuals.

“One of the entities that received money then made various payments which were traced to a Mpumalanga-based law firm and two employees of the department,” he said.