ANC supporters visit Block in jail

2010-11-08 07:45
Kimberley - The provisional charge sheet against Northern Cape finance, economy and tourism MEC John Block and his eight co-accused reads almost like the script of a thriller.

The nine are accused of having committed tender fraud amounting to R42 351 240 five years ago.

Block, 43, spent the weekend in a cell, where he was visited by ANC supporters.

Meanwhile, Cope has requested a special debate in the Northern Cape legislature, where Block's immediate future in his term of office will be discussed.

Masterminds

Block, the ANC chairperson in the province, and Gaston Savoi, 57, a wealthy businessman from Uruguay, were labelled the masterminds of the massive fraud scheme during their brief appearance in the magistrate's court on Thursday.

Block and Savoi, chairperson of Intaka Investments, have since been detained in single cells at the Transvaal Road police station. They will find out whether the State will oppose their bail on Tuesday.

Volksblad has heard that many ANC supporters visit Block's cell every day.

According to the interim charge sheet, the Northern Cape health department's inventory management unit allegedly didn't obtain quotes for the supply of water purifiers for the Colesberg and Calvinia hospitals.

Apparently the tender was awarded to Block, in an underhanded and fraudulent deal with Savoi and Fernando Praderi, 58, a co-director of Intaka Investments.

At the time, Block was the only shareholder of Chisane Investments in Kimberley as well as co-owner (with Savoi) of Intaka Northern Cape.

The quotes were allegedly compiled by Savoi, Praderi, Ansano Romani, 63, manager of marketing and sales at Grotto, a manufacturer of stainless steel tanks (mainly for the wine industry), and Ronald Geddes, 57, director of Westpro Fluid Handling Systems.

Sanjay Mitha, 39, former director of hospital maintenance and infrastructure at the Northern Cape health department, supposedly gave the quotes to Deon Madyo, 40, former head of the department, and Daniël Gaborone, 40, former chief financial officer, for approval.

Corruption

Block is accused of corruption because he allegedly received R772 000 from Savoi or Intaka Holdings between March 2005 and April 2006, in exchange for persuading officials to give Intaka Investments the tender for the water purifiers.

Madyo is suspected of corruption, since he allegedly received R672 269 from Savoi or Intaka Investments between March 2005 and January 2008 for persuading officials to give the tender to Intaka Investments.

Madyo is also being accused of receiving R8m during the same period from Savoi or Intaka Investments to persuade officials to give the tender to Intaka.

Madyo is at present a doctoral student at the University of Pretoria. Apparently this is part of his "sabbatical year". He has been using the title of "doctor" for quite some time already.

Madyo, Block and Nelmarie Oosthuizen, 35, a former administrative official at the health department in Kimberley, are being accused of money laundering.

Savoi, the main accused, is facing six charges of fraud and one of corruption.

At least five corporate entities stand accused in the provisional charge sheet.

The State will present the testimony of 20 people, including Dr Dion Theys from the health department.

The trial is scheduled to begin on March 18.

Read more on:    cope  |  anc  |  john block  |  kimberley  |  corruption  |  politics
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