UPDATE: Warrant of arrest issued for Free State municipal manager as Hawks nab officials for fraud, corruption charges

2019-05-22 16:47
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A warrant of arrest has been issued for municipal manager Simon Mqwathi, of the Moqhaka Municipality in the Free State after he failed to hand himself over to investigators on charges of fraud and corruption, Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha has said. 

Mqwathi was meant to hand himself over, together with a 53-year-old municipal manager at the Dihlabeng Municipality in the Free State, and a 51-year-old security company owner, who were arrested by the Hawks’ National Clean Audit Task Team on Wednesday morning on charges of corruption and fraud.

The arrests come two days after two other Free State municipal officers appeared separately in the Bethlehem Regional Court on charges of fraud, corruption and defeating the ends of justice.

It is alleged that, between August 2016 and November 2018, "accounting officers and other officials from the Dihlabeng municipality in the Thabo Mofutsanyane District of the Free State and Moqhaka Local Municipality influenced tender processes for their own gain", said Ramovha.

"Chief amongst these appointees was a company called Zero Tolerance, for the purpose of rendering protection and security services to the Dihlabeng Municipality, and the same entity was later unduly appointed to render similar services at Moqhaka Local Municipality," said Ramovha.

'Unauthorised, wasteful and fruitless expenditure'

Ramovha said the correct supply-chain management procedures had not been followed, resulting in irregular appointments and unauthorised, wasteful and fruitless expenditure amounting to more than R35m.

"More arrests are expected as the task team continues with its interventions to rid municipalities of maladministration, fraud and corruption," added Ramovha.

The two will appear in the Kroonstad Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

On Monday, two Free State municipal officials appeared separately in the Bethlehem Regional Court on charges of fraud, corruption and defeating the ends of justice.

Mbongiseni Solomon Nyembe was arrested by the Hawks' National Clean Audit Task Team for allegedly contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) for the period of 2014 to 2015. 

"Nyembe was granted R10 000 bail, and the case has been postponed to June 13, 2019 pending further investigation," said Warrant Officer Lynda Steyn in a statement on Monday.

Seiphathi Mavis Mabula, 47, also made an appearance in the same court for allegedly defeating the ends of justice.

Mabula, who was released on a warning, is also due back in court on June 13. 

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  crime
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