Hawks swoop as municipality loses R9m, ’with no work done on project’
Cape Town – The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said on Friday it had arrested several suspects in the Eastern Cape for fraud and corruption.
The specialised crime-fighting unit said in a statement that a project manager, four contractors and representatives of two companies were arrested and would appear in the Butterworth Magistrate's Court on charges of fraud, theft, corruption and money laundering.
Officials arrested three of the suspects - aged between 38 and 69 - in the early hours of Friday morning.
Two of the suspects are alleged to be in quarantine in Gauteng and Cape Town, however, their legal representatives would be representing them in court.
Commenting on the alleged the graft, the Hawks said the Mnquma local municipality invited bidders for the preliminary designs of the Ngqamakwe town internal street surfacing in August 2013.
HMP Africa and CWZ Matoti & Associates were appointed as consulting engineers for the project, while Soyama Construction and Luqaqambo Civil Construction were appointed for the street surfacing.
The Hawks said it was found the workmanship was poor and the payment certificates signed by municipal officials, who formed joint ventures. Services, however, were not rendered.
Upon investigation, the Hawks found more that over R9.1 million was lost by the municipality.
The investigation also led to findings of overexpenditure of R982 000, which was charged to the municipality.
It is alleged the project manager signed off all invoices and the service providers pocketed the money, while no work was done.
In a separate incident, the Hawks arrested a traffic officer from Port Alfred on charges of fraud and corruption.
The 42-year-old officer is alleged to have made a false report claiming he tested an applicant for a driving licence and the applicant passed.
The matter was reported to the Hawks after the traffic chief’s regular checks of video footage, which showed the officer's claim was false.
It was established the officer was paid a R3 000 bribe. He is expected back in the Port Alfred Magistrate’s Court on October 9.
African News Agency (ANA)