Official in court for R140m fraud

2013-08-12 14:22

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Johannesburg - The Mpumalanga provincial government will not suspend a head of department accused of fraud involving more than R140m.

"The administration will run as usual and there are no plans to suspend the [head of department] because we don't even know the witnesses [from his department], because the court didn't name them," provincial director general Nonhlanhla Mkhize said.

A Sapa correspondent reported on Monday that community safety head Thulani Sibuyi, 37, and co-accused Vusi Mashaba, 41, handed themselves over to police on Thursday.

They appeared in the Nelspruit Regional Court on the same day and were released on R50 000 bail each.

Provincial government spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha said in a statement Sibuyi should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

"We appreciate the fact that the State did not oppose bail and the accounting officer concerned will be subjected to a principle of being innocent until proven guilty," Mbatha said.

According to the State, Mashaba allegedly submitted a fraudulent tax clearance document for himself and his company, GNT security.

Fraudulent documents

Prosecutor Patrick Nkuna told the court that the document helped Mashaba’s company win a bid on a tender meant to provide security in the Msukaligwa municipal area.

Sibuyi allegedly failed to verify the documentation.

"The State alleges that accused one [Mashaba] submitted a fraudulent tax certificate for the bid to get a tender of providing security to the department in the Msukaligwa local municipality area. The department then lost an estimated amount of R4m a month for three years," Nkuna said.

"And accused three [Sibuyi] as an accounting officer failed to verify the documents submitted by the first accused on behalf of accused two [GNT security] which led to the appointment of GNT and leading the department to such loss," said Nkuna.

The company was still rendering services to the department.

He told the court that while the State was not opposing bail, he was worried that Sibuyi’s position as head of department might pose a threat to some of the witnesses, who were employed in the provincial government.

"There's a possibility that witnesses can be threatened because some of them are government employees," said Nkuna.

The defence team asked the court to grant the accused R5 000 bail each, but Magistrate Eddie Hall said the case was too serious for bail to be set at such a low amount, and set it at R50 000.

The case was postponed to 26 August for investigation and for the State to provide the contents of the docket to the defence team.

Read more on:    mbombela  |  corruption  |  tenders

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