Port Elizabeth - A Durban man made a brief appearance in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Friday, facing charges of fraud involving R24 million.
The 43-year old KwaZulu-Natal businessman is charged with defrauding the Eastern Cape Department of Education out of R24 million.
Vishal Seebran is no stranger to the courts, in 2014 he was acquitted in the East London Regional Court after allegations that he and two others tried to bribe former education boss, Modidima Mannya, into awarding stationery tenders to Seebran's company, Paper Active, Daily Disptach reported at the time.
At the time, the three allegedly wanted to be reinstated in a multimillion-rand tender process after they had been disqualified the previous year.
In his case before the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court, the State alleges that between October and December 2009, Seebran through his company, submitted fraudulent tax certificates and false letters to the department, in order to be awarded tenders worth R24 million.
Listed in the indictment, are three companies - Paper Active (Pty) Ltd, Mega Papers (Pty) Ltd, and African Paper Products (Pty) Ltd - Seebran is a director of each company. Seebran is also facing a charge of forgery in relation to the forging of a tax clearance certificates.
The case against him was postponed until October 19 for consultations.
Earlier in January, City Press reported that a contract worth more than R400 million, was awarded to African Papers Products in December 2016.
African Paper Products, of which Seebran is a director, was among five companies contracted by the Eastern Cape Department of Education to distribute stationery for the 2017 academic year.
At the time Seebran was quoted as saying that the company delivered stationery in the Libode, Maluti and Lusikisiki districts.
The Anti-Corruption Task Team of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) started investigating the R24 million tender fraud case in February 2013.
Eastern Cape Department of Education spokesperson, Mali Mtima could not immediately explain why Seebran was still on the government's data base for tenders, despite serious allegations of fraud and an ongoing investigation by the Hawks.
"When issues of this nature happen it is reported to treasury, if treasury is not happy then sanctions will take place," he said. Mtima requested time to respond to queries in an email.