Ten arrested for ADM toilet tender wanted to 'misappropriate funds' - NPA

2019-11-22 20:55
A file photo of the toilets that was never built, but R600-million was paid for it. (Supplied)

A file photo of the toilets that was never built, but R600-million was paid for it. (Supplied)

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The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says the 10 people arrested in connection with the Amathole toilet scandal had a "prior agreement" to appoint private company Siyenza as the service provider for the toilet tender.

This, NPA spokesperson Luxolo Tyali said, was so that they could "misappropriate funds earmarked for the sanitation project by the Amathole District Municipality (ADM)".

"The poorest of society within the ADM have been prejudiced, robbed of basic services, and their basic human rights infringed by individuals and State officials who were in positions of power and trust, but instead plundered the state coffers for their personal benefit," Tyali said in a statement.

The 10 people were arrested in various parts of the country on Thursday. 

Nine of them were granted R40 000 bail each when they appeared in the East London Magistrate's Court on Friday. A 10th person was granted bail of R10 000.

They face charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering.

Their names are:

  • Ntsokolo Chris Magwangqana - ADM municipal manager
  • Nkosinathi Soga - ADM chief financial officer,
  • Mpumelelo Shezi - Director Of Engineering Services of the ADM 
  • Lulama Taleni - Director Of Corporate Services of the ADM 
  • Ongama Mahlawe - ADM acting CEO
  • Goodman Ntandazo Vimba - Executive Manager: Vendor, Legal And Contracts Management of the municipal infrastructure support agent
  • Bongani Mpeluza - sole director of Siyenza 
  • Eddison Vuyani Gaga - sole director Of Siyenza Eastern Cape
  • Helen Busisiwe Kwinana-Boadi - Siyenza chief financial officer
  • Lovemore Khativhu, Siyenza head of operations

Three companies were also in court: 

  • Blue Nightingale Trading 397  
  • Siyenza Prospectors 
  • Siyenza Eastern Cape

According to Tyali, the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) already obtained an order in 2018 against Mpeluza's house which was allegedly bought with R18m of the stolen funds.    

According to a Public Protector report, the ADM toilet tender which was awarded to Siyenza cost the municipality millions.

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane found maladministration, corruption and tender irregularities in the awarding of a contract which racked up irregular expenditure to the tune of over R94m.

The contract was for the building of 66 000 toilets in the area, however, it was allegedly awarded without following due process.

Mkhwebane investigated the matter after receiving complaints following an exposé in the Daily Dispatch and Saturday Dispatch.

The publications suggested that, in 2014, the contract was awarded to the company, owned by Mpeluza, which was alleged to have strong political connections.

"The contract was further alleged to have been awarded to Siyenza without following the municipality's supply chain management processes and procedures, and despite same having been awarded to four other entities in August 2014," Mkhwebane said in the final report.

She found that the municipality failed to award the tender "in accordance with a system which is fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost effective".

Siyenza was also not registered with Companies Industry Property Commission (CIPC) or the Construction Industry Development Board (CIBD).

Mkhwebane also found that the conduct of the former municipal manager, Magwanqana, was improper because he failed to adequately manage the financial administration of the municipality and execute his duties in the interests of the municipality.

As a result, the municipality incurred fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure, as payment to the tune of more than R31m in September 2014, and R63m in December 2014 were made "in the absence of any contractual provision providing for the payment… and with no guarantee in place as per the requirements".

Following the release of her report, Mkhwebane referred the matter to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI) and the AFU for investigation.

The 10 suspects are expected to return to court on February 5, 2020.

"The Acting Director of Public Prosecutions for the Eastern Cape Division, advocate Indra Goberdan, is confident that the excellent working partnership between the investigating agencies, the prosecution and AFU will ensure that perpetrators of corruption and organised crime are brought to justice as the efforts to reclaim the State are materialising," Tyali said.

Read more on:    npa  |  hawks  |  port elizabeth  |  corruption  |  crime

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