KZN officials face raft of allegations
Pietermaritzburg - KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu and provincial legislature Speaker Peggy Nkonyeni were allegedly part of a pattern of racketeering, fraud and money laundering, the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.
This is contained in a 77-page document presented before the court when the two, along with former provincial health department head Professor Ronald Green-Thompson, made their first appearance.
The three and 15 others face fraud, corruption and money laundering charges. The rest were charged last year and have been appearing in court since then.
Their charges relate to the awarding of multi-million rand tenders to South American businessman Gaston Savoi’s company Intaka to supply water purification plants and oxygen generating units to provincial hospitals.
The State alleges standard procedures were bypassed to award tenders, prices were inflated and that certain people paid for influencing the tender process.
Intaka supplied goods to the health department while Nkonyeni was its MEC, and to the housing, traditional affairs and local government department when Mabuyakhulu was MEC.
As MEC, Mabuyakhulu allegedly participated in the conduct of the enterprise. His department purchased 20 water tanks for R44 563 636.
According to court papers, in 2007 former KwaZulu-Natal treasury head Sipho Shabalala and Mabuyakhulu agreed to accept R1m from Savoi.
According to media reports the money was donated to the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal. The court papers however make no mention of the ruling party.
The papers however mention a text message Nkonyeni allegedly sent to Savoi after the contract was signed.
It reads: "Doc! The contract was signed yesterday although your guys were not happy with maintenance and few other things buy (sic) they were crushed because of what was reflected in the bid document. Next time we’ll have to be more careful and perhaps u need to cancel the donation since u r losing on maintenance, what do u suggest? Peggy."
Not flight risks
According to the papers several payments were made to different companies, allegedly to hide the source, location or ownership of the money.
An amount of R100 000 was paid to Blue Serenity Investments, a company owned by Sipho Shabalala's wife Beatrice.
As part of the proceeds of unlawful activities R771 444 was allegedly made available to Shabalala and his wife through the Variquip CC bank account.
Nkonyeni allegedly accepted R500 000 to be paid into Lindelani Mkhwanazi’s company account for her benefit, or the benefit of other people.
This was done for her personally, or by influencing others, to award a tender. Mkhwanazi is described as Nkonyeni’s friend.
Thompson became involved during the installation of an oxygen generating unit at Murchison Hospital on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast in 2005 as a pilot project.
The State alleges the department did not stand to gain from the installation of the units.
Quotations for the water purification plants were allegedly inflated.
Nkonyeni and Mabuyakhulu were granted R100 000 bail each. Green-Thompson was released on R40 000 bail.
The State did not oppose bail, saying they were not flight risks.
They were told to appear in the same court again on January 20 next year for a high court date to be set.