Hawks: Mkhize not a fraud suspect
Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize is not a suspect in the alleged R200m tender fraud which led to the arrest of senior government officials, the Hawks said on Thursday.
"We would like to make it clear that Mkhize is not a suspect in our tender fraud investigations. He is instead a potential witness," said Hawks spokesperson Musa Zondi.
The Hawks are investigating allegations that prices of water purification equipment supplied to hospitals were highly inflated.
The Sunday Times reported this week that Mkhize and ANC Northern Cape chairperson John Block allegedly "played key roles in multi-million-rand deals" awarded to Cape Town firm Intaka.
Zondi said senior Hawks members had a meeting with Mkhize on Thursday morning in Pietermaritzburg.
"Our members had a meeting with him because he may be a potential witness during the case," said Zondi.
The alleged crimes happened while Mkhize was the province's finance MEC.
Former KwaZulu-Natal health department head Busi Nyembezi, former procurement officer Mdu Ntshangase and the provincial legislature's chief financial officer Sipho Buthelezi were arrested on August 25 in connection with the alleged fraud.
Uruguayan nationals Gaston Savoi and Fernando Praderi, as well as 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.
Ndabe Sibiya, Mkhize’s spokesperson described the meeting with the Hawks as fruitful.
"The Hawks have stated categorically that the premier is not a suspect," said Sibiya.
The premier had offered his full co-operation with the investigation.
"The premier was interviewed in his capacity as former political head of the department in which the investigation is being conducted, and hence is a potential witness."