Lear jet seized in R200m fraud raid

2010-08-25 22:47
Pietermaritzburg - Eight people appeared in court in two provinces on Wednesday following a R200m tender fraud crackdown by the Hawks and the Asset Forfeiture Unit.

The operation saw the seizure of assets including a Lear jet, worth in total roughly the same amount.

The crimes relate to alleged attempts to defraud the provincial health department by inflating the prices of water purification equipment for hospitals. One purification plant valued at R420 000 was allegedly sold to the department for R4m.

The men face fraud, corruption and money laundering charges and charges under the Public Finance Management Act, the National Prosecuting Authority said.

Officials involved


In the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates' Court, former KwaZulu-Natal health department head Dr Busi Nyembezi was granted bail of R50 000. Bail was set at R20 000 for the department's former procurement officer Mdu Ntshangase, and at R10 000 for the provincial legislature's current chief financial officer Sipho Buthelezi.

In Cape Town's Specialised Commercial Crime Court, Uruguayan national Gaston Savoi was granted bail of R200 000.

Savoi also represented accused number six on the charge sheet, namely a company called Intaka Holdings, the company that allegedly supplied the water purification plants at the inflated rate.

His co-accused, businessmen Fernando Praderi (also an Uruguayan national), Ansano Romani, Donald Miller and Ronald Geddes, were granted bail of R50 000 each.

Praderi was a director of Intaka at the time the offence was allegedly committed.

Geddes is involved in Imvusa Stainless CC, which allegedly supplied one of the quotations which formed part of the fraud charges, and Miller is a partner in the company.

The case was postponed to December 2 when all the accused will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court.

Bail not opposed


The State did not oppose bail for any of the eight.

The Cape Town men were, however, ordered to hand in their passports, and not to interfere with anyone on a list of 56 potential State witnesses.

Savoi's advocate, Francois van Zyl, told the court his client had been aware of the investigations since February 2007. He had given three statements to the police, and had offered to hand himself over when the police wanted to take him into custody.

Despite this, he has been arrested at his home, where police arrived while he was in the shower.

In the same court, prosecutor Anton Steynberg told Magistrate Amrith Chabillal that the accused had undertaken to satisfy the State's "misgivings" about certain funds that had been transferred overseas.

They would make a full disclosure on the source of the funds.

He said Romani, Miller and Geddes were all South African citizens with substantial business interests.

Lear jet housed at CT airport


However they had not benefited directly from the fraud, he said.

The NPA said in a statement that the Asset Forfeiture Unit had begun seizing assets worth an estimated at R200m from Savoi and Intaka.

These included the Shamwari Lodge in the Eastern Cape and the Lear jet, which was housed at Cape Town Airport.

A Maserati, a Range Rover, a Ferrari and an S Class Mercedes-Benz were also on the seizure list.

NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said in the statement that Intaka and its subsidiaries had allegedly fraudulently and corruptly secured tenders to supply water purification plants to provincial hospitals.

Fraudulent 'cover quotes'

"It is alleged that in awarding Intaka the said tenders, certain officials from the department had fraudulently colluded with Intaka and certain entities without following the... procurement process," he said.

"It is further alleged that Intaka colluded with those officials to obtain fraudulent 'cover quotes' from two other Cape Town businessmen and charged grossly inflated and excessive amounts in respect of goods supplied."

Mhaga said it had been established that Intaka allegedly received a total payment of over R180m from various provincial departments in KZN and the Northern Cape in respect of several other suspected fraudulent or corrupt tenders.

He told reporters in Cape Town that investigations on the Northern Cape leg were continuing, and that the total amount involved was in fact about R200m.

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe said in Pietermaritzburg earlier that the arrests followed an investigation which started in 2008.

"Today's arrests and seizure of assets must send a message as clear as a bell to every doubting Thomas that there indeed is a political will on our part to combat corruption," he said.
- SAPA
Read more on:    hawks  |  corruption
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Lightning kills baby, woman

2014-12-21 10:38
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.