Some money from an undeclared R5 million belonging to JB Marks Local Municipality in the North West allegedly found its way into the private accounts of Mayor Kgotso Khumalo and other municipal officials.
This is what has landed Khumalo and his co-accused in hot water, after the Hawks investigated and followed the trail of the R5 million as well as the web of dubious transactions around it.
Khumalo was arrested early on Friday, together with a director at the municipality, Cyril Henry, who is a former acting municipal manager at JB Marks.
The Hawks could not rule out the possibility of more arrests in the same case. Pictures showing the pair being led into the court by Hawks officials clad in branded white golf shirts flooded social media this morning. They were later released on warning by the Potchefstroom Magistrate’s Court.
Giving further details on the pair’s arrest, Hawks spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said the money which had been intended for the municipality was deposited into a trust account and was “never declared to the Auditor-General”.
“Through investigations it was discovered that a series of payments were allegedly made from the trust into the suspects’ private bank accounts instead. It is alleged that the funds in the trust were misrepresented to appear as if they were being used to pay for services rendered to the municipality; meanwhile invoices were allegedly being falsified,” Rikhotso said.
“In some instances, funds were allegedly paid into service providers’ accounts for services that were never rendered, thereafter the money would allegedly be collected by the suspects.”
The same JB Marks municipality is among those investigated by the Special Investigating Unit for the controversial Covid-19 coronavirus spending. The municipality made headlines in July when it reported to the North West provincial legislature that large quantity of sanitisers were procured at R750 per litre.
It was also cited, in the same presentation on the municipality’s R11.4 million Covid-19-related expenditure report, that R1.2 million was spent on instant nutritious porridge for indigents. The municipality had, however, made a U-turn a few days later, saying they had actually paid R750 for 5 litres of sanitiser and not 1 litre.
Meanwhile, in Atamelang, about 200km from Potchefstroom, former municipal manager of Ratlou Local Municipality, Cassius Sejake was released on R5 000 bail.
The 45-year-old had been arrested last Friday at the municipal offices in Setlagole for failing to follow due process in the awarding of contracts worth just over R5 million during his time as an acting accounting officer.