Fraud accused out on bail

2017-12-06 06:00
Paul Neethling. Photo: Mlungisi Louw

Paul Neethling. Photo: Mlungisi Louw

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The five suspects arrested in connection with a Free State Department of Public Works fraud scandal are expected to reappear in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court in February.

Granted bail of R5 000 each, the accused are Paul Neethling (76), an attorney based in Memel, Sandile Xaba (36), Lucky Nyandu (43) of Bloemfontein, Tebua Kangobe (42) and Thando Ntabati (40) of Beacon Bay in East London.

At their recent court appearance on 24 November, the matter was postponed to 21 February while the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (the Hawks) continue with further investigation into the fraud, corruption and money laundering case.

Capt. S’fiso Nyakane, provincial spokesperson of the Hawks, says the suspects face charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering. He says the men allegedly colluded with the service providers in defrauding the department of R3,6 million through submission of fraudulent claims for the payment of water and electricity between 2014 and 2015.

Nyandu and Kangobe, who have since resigned, had worked for the department during the term. Xaba is still an employee of the department. Xaba, Nyandu and Kangobe worked as clerk and project managers in the payment division of the Department of Public Works.

Neethling is the owner of Neetven Close Corporation in Memel in the Eastern Free State.

According to initial findings, fraud, corruption and money laundering charges relate to the allegedly fraudulent rental accounts of a building the department had rented for the police since 2013.

The suspects allegedly submitted a falsified account of the Dihlabeng Municipality to the department, which the department had paid.

It emerged that the money paid into the Neetven Corporation trust account would then be shared among the accused.

Nyakane said the five suspects were arrested at their residences in East London and Bloemfontein, adding that further ­investigation was ongoing ­
and more arrests were imminent.

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