Deputy national police commissioner granted R20 000 bail in R191m SAPS tender fraud case

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Oct 12, 2020

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Durban – Deputy national police commissioner Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya has been granted R20 000 bail at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court.

Mgwenya is one of 13 people arrested for allegedly swindling the SAPS out of millions of rands over a tender to supply warning lights.

She has been charged with corruption, fraud and money laundering for her role in ensuring a lucrative contract to install warning lights on more than 1 500 police vehicles was awarded to a predetermined service provider in 2017.

Mgwenya is the deputy national commissioner for Human Resources management.

According to the Investigating Directorate, Mgwenya is the 13th person arrested and will join her co-accused which include several other former senior police officials as well as Vimpie Manthatha, who is the sole director of a company called Instrumentation for Traffic Law enforcement (Pty) Ltd.

ID spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala said they stand accused of allegedly colluding to ensure that Manthatha's company was awarded the contract, which had grossly overpriced figures.

"During the procurement process, the SAPS accused completely ignored the competitive bidding process and committed the SAPS to financial exposure of R191m in favour of Manthatha’s company in exchange for benefits they received from Manthatha," Twala said.

She said suspicion was raised after R65m was paid to the service provider and the payment of the remaining R22m was stopped thanks to the investigative work of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate and the Hawks, under the leadership of the ID.

"Mgwenya today faces charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering for her role in ensuring the contract to supply emergency warning equipment for the South African Police Service (SAPS) in 2017 went to Instrumentation for Traffic Law enforcement (Pty) Ltd, while she enjoyed an undisclosed close relationship with the company’s owner, Manthata," she said.

Twala added Manthatha assisted Mgwenya with purchasing a BMW X5 by paying a contribution of R440 000 towards the purchase price and negotiating a discount of R284 580 for her with the dealership.

She said these benefits put Mgwenya in a position to apply for a loan of R255 990 to finance the purchase of the BMW X5, which was valued at just over R1m.

It is alleged Mgwenya failed to disclose these benefits to her employer.

Ipid head Jennifer Ntlatseng said the police watchdog remained committed in its constitutional mandate of investigating any alleged police misconduct.

"Once more our seasoned investigators have done a commendable job," she said.

ID head Advocate Hermione Cronje said they were working hard to clean up law enforcement.

"We want South Africans to be assured that those charged with the responsibility to protect and serve the nation are in fact doing so and not themselves breaking the law," she said.

National police commissione General Khehla Sitole said nobody was above the law and welcomed a criminal investigation into Mgwenya.

"My position regarding criminality by members within the ranks of the SAPS has been made clear by the arrest of a multitude of SAPS members by a task team reporting to me on investigations into vehicle-marking-tender fraud as well as our support to the ID in respect of the blue-light-tender fraud investigation," said Sitole.

He said interventions had been put in place to ensure that service delivery within the human resource environment was not compromised.

All accused will stand trial from November 16 to December 10.

IOL

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