Cape Town – The fraud case against a former City of Cape Town employee who is alleged to be involved in a R49 million tender for supply and delivery of refuse black bags has been postponed for him to consult with his lawyers.
The Bellville Commercial Crimes Court postponed the case against Paul Mathew Hatting charged with fraud, corruption, and money laundering for him to consult with his lawyer following his first appearance on Wednesday morning.
It is alleged that Hattingh, who was a member of the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) hid his conflict of interest and recommended that a R49m tender for supply and delivery of refuse black bags be awarded to C’Est Gyms.
In return, the company awarded the tender and paid R10.4m into the bank account of his company, of which he was a sole director and had signing powers.
He then used the money for his benefit; Hatting was employed as an administrative officer in supply chain management at their Ndabeni store from March 1, 2002.
"He was a storekeeper and technical adviser and knew who the City of Cape Town’s service providers were.
“On April 18, 2008, he bought Cosmic Gold Trading 517 from his son’s mother," NPA regional spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said.
Ntabazalila said it was a shelf company registered for general trading in all aspects, and he was appointed a member of the City of Cape Town BEC in May 2009.
“The BEC’s role is to evaluate and provide the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) with a recommendation on who ought to be awarded a tender by the City of Cape Town. The BAC then awards the tender to the successful party,” Ntabazalila said
He said that State alleged that Hatting together with other persons unknown to the State conspired, agreed, and decided to embark on an initiative to influence the tender process of refuse bags or ordering of refuse bags by the City from C’Est Gyms and that C’Est Gyms will regularly pay money into his company’s bank account.
“C’Est Gyms was registered as a close corporation with Shu Wei Lu and Irene September as members.
“September did not actively participate in the running of the company, Lu conducted the day-to-day operation of the business.
“The company was a registered service provider to the City of Cape Town on January 2006,” Ntabazalila said
Ntabazalila said members of the BEC are required to sign a conflict-of-Interest declaration form in which the member declares any conflict of interest he or she may have or has in respect of a tender being decided on.
“Where a conflict of interest may arise, the member is required to recuse himself or herself for the BEC to determine whether such conflict has any impact on the tender process.
“The BEC recommended on September 16 2008 that the tender for the supply and delivery of refuse bags be awarded for two years from November 1 2008, to October 31 2010, to four companies including C’Est Gyms CC.
“Hatting signed a conflict-of-Interest Declaration and Undertaking of Confidentiality, dated September 16 2008, in his capacity as a member of the BEC where he declared that he does not have any direct or indirect interest in respect of any of the tenders or bidders for the tender, any financial interest in the tenders or bidders for the tender,” Ntabazalila said.
Ntabazalila said Hatting also declared that he did not have any immediate relatives or acquaintances with a financial interest in the subject, any personal bias or loyalty which would in any way affect his decisions about the subject and any personal social benefits or financial gain that may come about as a consequence of the award of a contract.
Ntabazalila said the State further alleged that he benefited from these misrepresentations more than R49m, to the actual or potential prejudice of the City of Cape Town or other tenders or the public.
“He used his benefits for personal expenses as there were inter alia 87 transactions to the value of over R800 000, under the name of PM Hattingh, 39 cash withdrawals to the value of over R2.2m, and payments made to Mercedes Benz and McCarthy Toyota.
“Funds were also transferred to companies he had a relationship with, such as six transactions to Cosmic Gold 532 to the value of R216 000, 19 transactions to Park Boulevard Traders to the value of over an R2m, and 5 transactions to Titanic Trading to the value of R224 000. This constituted money laundering,” Ntabazalila said.
The case has been postponed to June 26, 2023, for him to consult with his lawyers, and the State has furnished the defence with further particulars and a copy of the docket.