Hawks eye couple’s assets

2013-11-13 00:00

THE assets of an Umhlanga Rocks couple, Shamla and Ravan Chetty, who face fraud and corruption charges totalling more than R26 million, have been placed under court restraint pending a possible future forfeiture application.

It is alleged that their Pietermaritzburg-based electrical company, Nationwide Electrical, illegally benefited from tenders awarded to it by the departments of Public Works in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

Although Shamla Chetty is currently the sole director of the company, her husband was a former director who resigned in May 2011, according to court papers.

The couple are said to be married in community of property.

Magesheverie Chetty and Mdeni Electrical CC in Durban were also cited as respondents in the application because they have an interest in certain of the assets.

KZN deputy director of public prosecutions Kenneth Samuel submitted there are reasonable grounds to believe Shamla and Ravan Chetty and the electrical company will be convicted at their trial in the commercial crimes court in Durban.

If they are found guilty, the Asset Forfeiture Unit will seek an order forfeiting assets to the value of the crimes committed, to the state.

The court order restraining the property was confirmed by Judge Johan Ploos van Amstel yesterday.

The listed assets include four fixed properties at John Ross House, Harrier Crescent at Umhlanga Rocks, Isipingo, and Hudd Road in Amanzimtoti, as well as 18 bakkies, a Porsche Cayenne Diesel, a Mercedes Benz Coupe and a Mercedes Benz C180.

Hawks Colonel Kubenthren Naidoo said in an affidavit in support of the NDPP’s application that he is the project manager of a special investigation into allegations of fraud committed against KZN’s Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).

He said the couple face charges of corruption and fraud in their capacity as directors of Nationwide Electrical.

It is being alleged that they had made various “misrepresentations” and provided fraudulent documentation the CIDB in support of applications concerning the grading applicable to Nationwide Electrical.

As a result of the misrepresentations and the gradings that the company was given by the CIDB, the company was awarded tenders by the KZN and Eastern Cape Public Works departments to the value of R26 971 979.

According to the papers, the tenders were for work at Addington, Livingstone and Greytown hospitals.

Naidoo explained that the CIDB keeps a national register of contractors who are evaluated and graded into categories depending on the type of work they are deemed capable of performing.

It is mandatory for the public sector to use the CIDB register when considering tenders.

The evidence uncovered in this case indicated that various documents submitted to the CIDB were fraudulent and that the grading (applied to Nationwide Electrical) was based on misrepresentations.

These grades were accepted as valid by the DPW when awarding the tenders concerned, he said.

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