Company director arrested for alleged R4.8m Covid-19 fraud

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The accused will be back in court on 30 October.
The accused will be back in court on 30 October.
Tiro Ramatlhatse, Gallo Images, Sowetan

The Hawks have arrested a 48-year-old company director who allegedly defrauded the OR Tambo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape of more than R4.8 million.

According to the Hawks, Phumza Phoshee Gambula's arrest followed a three-month intensive prosecution-led investigation into Covid-19 "awareness services".

"It is alleged that the company and its sole director intentionally submitted fraudulent documents to various municipalities purporting that she conducted door-to-door awareness campaigns for the prevention and containment of [the] Covid-19 pandemic to the rural communities of Port St Johns, King Sabatha Dalindyebo and Mhlonto local municipalities", Hawks spokesperson Captain Katlego Mogale said.

READ | Hawks crack down on two alleged bogus doctors who reportedly issued fraudulent sick certificates

Mogale said she then invoiced the three municipalities to the tune of more than R4.8 million for services that were partially rendered with fraudulent supporting documents.

Between March and June 2020, during the stricter levels of the Covid-19 lockdown, Gambula's company, Phathilizwi Training Institute, submitted two invoices of R3 036 000 and R1 821 600 to the municipality.

The Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team arrested her on Thursday morning.

READ HERE | Former North West municipal manager arrested for alleged tender fraud

Gambula and her company appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crime Court sitting at the Mthatha Regional Court on two charges of fraud.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said Gambula was released on R20 000 bail.

Ngwema said the case was postponed to 30 October for further investigations and for it to be transferred to the Regional Court.


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