Hawks investigate R40 million public works lease scam

2013-10-02 15:22

A R40 million lease scam allegedly involving a department of public works administrator and a businessman was being investigated by the Hawks.

Captain Paul Ramaloko confirmed that the Hawks had been investigating public works department senior administrator Desmond Simamane and businessman Sayed Hoosen Mia.

“(Simamane) is no longer in the employ of the department,” department spokesperson Thami Mchunu said.

He said that about two years ago the department began reviewing leases, which led to an internal investigation.

The Star reported that the scam, which started in 2006 and continued for five years, led to the department paying R40 million for the lease of six Johannesburg buildings from Mia.

Despite the money being paid, the buildings were never used.

The men would appear in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court on January 15 for a trial date to be set. They face charges of money laundering and corruption. Simamane was previously granted R5 000 bail and Mia R10 000 bail. Court documents list Mia’s 10 companies as “the accused”.

According to The Star, Simamane allegedly accepted bribes from Mia in exchange for recommending his companies for lease contracts for office space for other national government departments.

Simamane allegedly accepted a Nissan Hardbody bakkie, worth R156 400, and the use of a BMW 525, worth R566 250, from Mia. He also allegedly received payments of R640 500 via his football club’s bank account.

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