Mkhize denies R200m fraud claims

2010-09-05 21:31

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize on Sunday denied any involvement in the alleged R200m tender fraud which led to the arrest of senior government officials.

“The premier takes serious exception to the Sunday Times (newspaper's) suggestion that he played a key role in the scandal,” said Mkhize’s spokesperson, Ndabe Sibiya.

The newspaper reported that Mkhize and ANC Northern Cape chair John Block "played key roles in multimillion-rand deals" awarded to Cape Town firm Intaka.

Former HOD of the department of health, Busi Nyembezi, former procurement officer Mdu Ntshangase and provincial legislature's current chief financial officer Sipho Buthelezi were recently arrested in connection with the fraud.

Businessmen - Uruguayan national Gaston Savoi, Fernando Praderi (also an Uruguayan national), Ansano Romani, Donald Miller and Ronald Geddes - were also arrested.

They allegedly defrauded the KwaZulu-Natal health department by inflating prices of water purification equipment supplied to hospitals.

The alleged crime happened while Mkhize was the province's finance MEC.

Sibiya said an impression had been created that Mkhize was a corrupt leader who influenced the multimillion-rand deals. "We also hold a view that this borders along defaming Dr Mkhize," said Sibiya.

The ANC in the province has since admitted that it had received a R1m donation from Savoi.

It also promised to return the money if it is found that the money was obtained through the corrupt deeds.