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Rustenburg - A former employee of the  Eastern Cape department of education, Zukiswa Wana, appeared briefly in the East London Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, the Hawks have said.

Provincial police spokesperson colonel Katlego Mogale said Wana, 47, appeared alongside her co-accused, Milisa Ngcukana, 41, Sibulele Mnyande, 39, Mzodumo Sijadu, 54, and Lowd Trading Enterprise and Ariona Trading 659. 

"The suspects are facing charges of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering related to corrupt activities involving the department of education school nutrition procurement programme," Mogale said.

The case was postponed to January 20 for a regional court date. All of the accused were granted R10 000 bail each.

"It is alleged that between 2012 and 2013, the department of education in the Eastern Cape was defrauded of R2.9 million by its employee, attached to the school nutrition procurement programme, in collusion with service providers.

"Wana allegedly falsified invoices to show that services were rendered; she facilitated payments that were laundered through bank accounts of the service providers, Lowd Trading Enterprise and Ariona Trading 659.

"She was responsible for processing payments of hostel fees throughout the province of the Eastern Cape. She would transfer the funds to unsuspecting service providers on the department's data base and later approach them for a refund, claiming erroneous payments were made. The refunds would then be deposited into other bank accounts and spent on purchasing property, amongst other things," said Mogale. 

African News Agency (ANA)