Johannesburg - The Hawks on Thursday arrested five people including three former officials of the Limpopo Health Department and an administrations clerk. The trio were detained in connection with tender-related fraud amounting to about R10.6 million.

The alleged rot goes back as far as 2005.

One of those arrested was taken in while participating in Thursday’s ANC Youth League march against the national administrators who are running the financially troubled province. The accused are alleged to be involved in a network of 26 companies that benefited from the alleged fraud.

The charge sheet indicated that the last payment into the bank account of one of the beneficiary companies was made in April 2010.

The five are accused of fraudulently awarding tenders, either to their companies or to those owned by their relatives including wives, daughters, sons and siblings.

They worked as chief state accountant, chief provisioning officer, deputy manager for finance, deputy manager for supply chain management and administration clerk for supply chain management respectively, according to Limpopo police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

The accused cannot be named until they have appeared in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Four of them had resigned except for the clerk.

They had all been based at the Limpopo Nursing College’s Sovenga campus in Mankweng.

The chief state accountant, the chief provisioning officer and the deputy manager for finance sat on the tendering bid adjudication committee.

According to the charge sheet, no formal adjudication process for procurement of goods and services was held in the awarding of all the dodgy contracts.

In total, R1.7m was paid into four companies owned by the chief state accountant between January 2008 and November 2009, the document said.

He was arrested in Middelburg in Mpumalanga. It is alleged that R500 000 was paid to one company owned by his mother.

His companies owned by his wife and brother were paid more than R500 000 and R2m respectively, according to the charge sheet.

Police said the other accused had awarded contracts to companies owned by her son and daughter.

Mulaudzi said the police would involve the asset forfeiture unit from the National Prosecuting Authority to try to freeze the assets of the accused.

The administration clerk was arrested in front of her colleagues and student nurses as she prepared to go for lunch.

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The Star