Free State municipal officials in court for R4.6m fraud, corruption case

Two more senior officials from the Maluti-A-Phofung Local Municipality in the Free State have been arrested for fraud and corruption involving R4.6m.

According to Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, chief financial officer Nrateng Khumalo and expenditure manager Diakanyo Khampepe were arrested on Thursday and appeared in court on Friday. They were released on bail.

"The two ladies were ordered by the Phuthaditjaba Magistrate's Court not to interfere with the witnesses and surrender their passports to the investigating team. Their arrest is a sequel to a Hawks investigation into a security services tender that was allegedly unduly awarded to [a company called] Zero Tolerance.

"It is alleged that the accused conspired and colluded during October 2016 and awarded Zero Tolerance a tender to provide protection and security services to the municipality without following the correct supply chain management processes in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act," said Mulaudzi.

READ: Free State officials in court for allegedly defrauding municipality

He added that the municipality reportedly lost almost R4.6m as a result of the alleged irregular, wasteful and fruitless expenditure.

In December last year, the Hawks' Serious Corruption Investigation unit arrested senior municipality officials and a Zero Tolerance director for allegedly defrauding the bankrupt municipality. Each of them were released on R10 000 bail.

Mulaudzi said the officials were arrested following an investigation into the security services tender that was allegedly unduly awarded to Zero Tolerance.

Documents which the Hawks seized allegedly revealed that the Dihlabeng Local Municipality at some stage appointed Zero Tolerance to render similar services.

The appointment was declared unlawful by the high court in Bloemfontein after a rival entity successfully challenged it. The tender was then set aside.

Despite this, Mokoena Robert Tsupa, as the Maluti-A-Phofung municipal manager, allegedly undeservedly appointed Zero Tolerance in 2016 to operate protection and security services for the municipality allegedly using the same contract that had been set aside.

READ: Hawks swoop on two Free State municipalities in R56m corruption probe

Khumalo, Khampepe, Tsupa, Abraham Moratwe Mofokeng, Mabidikwana Wilfred Matjele, Nkgaudise Nelson Molefe and Tefo Warnic Montsitsi are expected to appear in the Bethlehem Regional Court again on April 4.

Mofokeng was the chief financial officer, Matjele was the director of public safety, Molefe worked as a manager at supply chain department in the municipality, while Montsitsi was a Zero Tolerance director.

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