ECape MEC welcomes arrest of municipal boss for R12.5m fraud

2013-05-13 11:10

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The Eastern Cape local government has welcomed the arrest of a director at Mbizana municipality for allegedly defrauding his employer of R12.5 million.

“We are not happy when some municipal officials and councillors collude with business people to defraud and corrupt our municipalities and government,” Mlibo Qoboshiyane said in a statement today.

On Friday, Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said the man allegedly facilitated the awarding of a tender for the installation of electricity to surrounding villages to a certain company.

This company, in turn, appointed the director’s company as a sub-contractor on the project.

However, no electricity was installed in the villages in and around the municipality, which is situated in Mbizana in the Eastern Cape.

The main contractor allegedly channelled more than R12m into the director’s company bank account.

Qoboshiyane said the arrest would “help unearth the rot that former municipal manager Simphiwe Thobela constantly fought in that municipality”.

Thobela was suspended on August 30 for alleged insubordination and corruption, but the courts later reversed the move.

Qoboshiyane said last year that the suspension was unprocedural and illegal.

Last month, the ANC directed that the mayor, speaker, and chief whip tender their resignations immediately, and that Thobela’s contract be reviewed.

This would allow the establishment of a new administration and clean governance structures. The municipality was placed under provincial administration last year.

Qoboshiyane said municipalities needed to be “centres of excellence”, rather than havens for fraud and corruption.

“Employees must decide if they want to be business people or municipal employees. They can’t be both.”

The arrested director, responsible for planning infrastructure development in the municipality, was expected to appear in the Mbizana Magistrate’s Court later today on charges of fraud and corruption.

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