Hawks bust Eastern Cape municipality in alleged R26m fraud scandal

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Sep 23, 2020

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Cape Town – The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Hawks) has seized documents indicating alleged fraud amounting to R26 million at a municipality in the Eastern Cape.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase said members attached to the East London Hawks Serious Corruption Investigation team embarked on a search-and-seizure operation at the Inxuba Yethemba local municipality, formerly known as Cradock municipality, in Cradock on Tuesday.

He said the purpose of the investigation was to secure documents that were linked to allegations of fraud and corruption totalling approximately R26m.

Nkwalase said the investigation began in 2017 when procurement processes were allegedly being flouted and several companies were being awarded tenders for road construction, maintenance projects and the design of a community hall in the municipal district.

He said the work on the projects was incomplete.

“All these projects were allegedly paid in full to all service providers during the 2017/2018 financial year, yet the work on all projects was partially rendered.

“It indicates that the projects were allegedly used to siphon municipal funds,” Nkwalase said.

He said the Hawks’ preliminary investigation showed probable cause, which allowed the investigating team to obtain a search warrant.

When the investigating team went to the offices of the municipality, no arrests were made, and Nkwalase said the persons of interest and companies implicated in the alleged fraud are yet to be charged. This was due to the ongoing investigation.

African News Agency/ANA

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