Five more arrested in Durban Solid Waste tender scandal, including a senior official

2020-01-24 12:59
eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is seen during a media briefing. (Jabulani Langa, Gallo Images, Daily Sun, file)

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is seen during a media briefing. (Jabulani Langa, Gallo Images, Daily Sun, file)

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A further five people, including a senior eThekwini Municipality official, have appeared in court in connection with the Durban Solid Waste tender corruption case, in which former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is a co-accused.

Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said on Friday that Deputy Head for Supply Chain Management Sandile Charles Ngcobo, 41, his wife Vuyiswa Venery Ngcobo, 27, and three company directors, Freedom Nkululeko Blose, 39, Hlenga Truly Sibisi, 44, and 24-year-old Mzwandile Fortune Dludla appeared briefly in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Friday.

The five, aged 25 to 42, were each granted R10 000 bail.

They were ordered to hand in their passports and report to the investigating officer whenever they left the province.

The case was postponed until February 25 for further investigation.

"Their arrest stems from the allegations that Ngcobo conspired with the service providers in 2017 and received illicit benefits in a form of a R1 million Jaguar sedan vehicle which was reportedly bought for his wife," said Mulaudzi.

READ | 'I don't have luxury cars. I'm poor as a church mouse' - former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede on Hawks raid

A total of R600 000, made up of two separate payments of R400 000 and R200 000, was allegedly paid in cash from two of the suspects' company accounts.

"It is alleged the purchasing of the said vehicle was a payment in exchange for Ngcobo, as the chairperson of the municipality bid adjudication committee, to award tenders to the other suspects."

READ | Durban Solid Waste tender scandal: Proceeds of fraud closer to R389m, court hears

Political status

News24 reported in December that 22 people had been arrested, up to that point, in connection with the Durban Solid Waste tender scandal.

The court heard last week that the proceeds of fraud and corruption were close to R389m, R181m more than the R208m initially mentioned in the case.

Gumede is out on R50 000 bail and the case is set to continue on April 16.

She, councillor Mondli Mthembu, and others are accused of colluding with corporate entities and others to circumvent the outcome of the supply chain management protocols of the municipality.

Gumede is accused of using her political status to influence the appointment of senior eThekwini personnel responsible for supply chain management, as well as legal matters and human resources.

It is alleged that she gave instructions to the bid specification committee, bid adjudication committee and the bid evaluation committee, despite the fact that mayors are not allowed to be involved in tender specification processes.

In October, the Hawks and Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority swooped in on the fraud, corruption and money laundering accused, seizing various homes and luxury cars.

Among the 10 properties the AFU and Hawks seized was the plush Prestondale residence of Gumede's co-accused Hlenga Sibisi.

Read more on:    zandile gumede  |  durban  |  corruption
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