KZN man on bail over R87 mln in tenders for fake BEE firms

2011-08-31 00:00

A DURBAN businessman was yesterday released on a R200 000 bail after being charged with 148 counts, ranging from fraud, corruption and fronting involving over R87 million in transactions with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Public Works.

KZN Public Works MEC Maggie Govender said Rajkapoor Lakraj, who is commonly known as “Teddy”, was arrested by the Hawks at his home in Durban yesterday morning and appeared before the Commercial Court in Durban.

The charges emanate from a multi-disciplinary investigation, spanning two years, which involved the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Provincial Treasury.

Govender said Lakraj’s case was one of the 20 fraud and corruption cases prioritised and forms part of President Jacob Zuma’s anti-fraud and corruption initiative announced in July last year.

It is alleged that Lakraj was the mastermind behind the company known as Quantum Leap Investments 24, trading as Teddy’s Construction, and Dreamteam Trading 562 cc, trading as Siyasiza Builders.

The companies were awarded contracts by the Public Works Department in terms of the government’s black economic empowerment (BEE) and broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) framework on the grounds that their tender documents stipulated they were under the control of African women. However, Lakraj was allegedly controlling both companies.

Govender said more arrests will follow as they believe there are some officials within her department who aided Lakraj in defrauding the department.

“Since the start of the investigation two years ago Lakraj’s company, Quantum Investment, has been blacklisted by the national Treasury after a request by the KZN Department of Public Works, and we are now in the process of requesting the blacklisting of his second company, Dreamteam Trading,” Govender said.

The MEC said they intend to recover any money irregularly paid to Lakraj and others.

“Lakraj, other contractors, service providers and officials of government found to have committed any crimes or acts of maladministration will be brought to book through continuing investigations,” Govender reiterated.

Since the deployment of Steven Nel from the Department of Public Works to head the corruption task team, Govender said, 15 new criminal cases have been registered for investigation with the police to date.

Disciplinary action against 20 Department of Public Works officials have so far resulted one dismissal, nine final written warnings and one written warning. The hearings continue,

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