- A former OR Tambo District Municipality project accountant, Nyameka Qongqo, was effectively sentenced to 15 years behind bars by the Mthatha High Court on Thursday.
- This comes after Qongqo had entered into a plea and sentence agreement with the State and admitted to defrauding the municipality out of about R9.8 million.
- On Thursday Qongqo was given 15 years for fraud and 10 years for money laundering with the two sentences running concurrently.
Former OR Tambo District Municipality project accountant, Nyameka Qongqo, was effectively sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by the Mthatha High Court on Thursday.
This comes after Qongqo had entered into a plea and sentence agreement with the State and admitted to defrauding the municipality out of about R9.8 million.
She pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and money laundering.
On Thursday Qongqo was sentenced to 15 years for fraud and 10 years for money laundering. The two sentences will run concurrently.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), in her guilty plea, Qongqo admitted that from November 2012 to 2014 she was the authorised officer responsible for processing claims from service providers and effecting payments to their bank accounts.
During the said period, she transferred funds from the municipality to companies belonging to her former boyfriend, Thobani Notshokovu and her sister, Thumeka, without any approval and authorisation although there were no services rendered by these companies.
She further admitted that she withdrew R200 000 from the money paid to Notshokovu’s company, Zingce Enterprise and Thumeka’s Ogiyonke Construction. She used the R200 000 she paid for a 2014 Golf 7 GTI through EFT to a motor dealer.
Qongqo was initially charged together with her sister (Thumeka), Notshokovu, and the companies owned by Notshokovu and Thumeka. Notshokovu pleaded guilty and turned State witness.
He (Notshokovu) was subsequently sentenced to ten years imprisonment with an option to pay a fine of R50 000. The case against Thumeka, who is the only one who pleaded not guilty, is due in court on 03 May 2021.
The municipal manager blew the whistle in 2014 after noticing the suspicious payments and reported the matter to law enforcement authorities.
Qongqo was suspended and eventually fired by the municipality after she was found guilty during an internal disciplinary hearing.
The NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) managed to recover some of the ill-gotten funds and assets from Qongqo.
A total of R2.1 million was reimbursed to the municipality. Qongqo’s pension would also not be released until after her conviction, so as to ensure that the remaining balance is also recovered.
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