- Nine suspects, including two former Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality officials, arrested for alleged tender fraud have been released on bail of between R5 000 and R100 000.
- The accused handed themselves over to the Hawks at the Humewood Police Station.
- The case was remanded to March 2021.
Nine suspects, including two former Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality officials, arrested for alleged tender fraud of around R73 million, have been released on bail of between R5 000 and R100 000.
The group appeared in the New Law Courts in North End on charges of fraud, money laundering, corruption, and contraventions of the Municipal Finance Management Act, on Friday.
On Friday National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said the appearance was in connection with tender corruption worth about R73 million.
"Mhleleli Mlungisi Tshamase, Walter Shaidi, Fareed Fakir, Rukaard Abrahams, Andrea Joleen Wessels, Nadia Gerwel, Dawid Eduard Le Roux, Zandisile Qupe, and Thando Ngcolomba were released on bail of R100 000," said Ngwema.
They were charged together with Fakir’s companies Heerkos Projects CC, Jarami CC, and Erastyle Pty Ltd, Fakir Abrahams’ Dankovista Pty Ltd, Wessels’ Zeranza 299 Pty Ltd and Le Roux’s Le Roux Inc.
The accused handed themselves over to the Hawks, at the Humewood Police Station at 07:00.
Although they all face counts under Schedule 5 of the Criminal Procedure Act, the NPA said that the state did not oppose bail as they were aware they were under investigation, and they did not pose a flight risk.
Ngwema said that between 2013 to 2015, the nine operated as an alleged syndicate to fraudulently and corruptly benefit specific suppliers or consultants, to the prejudice of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality and the National Treasury in the amount of approximately R73 million.
"Generally, the individual accused played various roles within the syndicate.
"It is alleged that Qupe, Ngcolomba, and the late Nelson Mandela Metro councillor, Mongameli Bobani, political office bearers, wielded political power within the Nelson Mandela Metro structures and used their positions to control decision-making in the procurement processes," said Ngwema.
Abused positions of power
They obtained cooperation of specific individuals and influenced appointments in critical municipal positions as well as the appointment of people and entities as suppliers or consultants who were willing to advance the interests of the "syndicate", Ngwema said.
Allegations suggest that Tshamase, Shaidi and Gerwel were municipal officials who abused their positions to manage the internal Nelson Mandela Bay Metro processes in ways designed to ensure the irregular appointment of Heerkos Projects CC, Jarami CC, Erastyle Pty Ltd (all Fakir’s companies), and Le Roux Inc. (Le Roux’s company) as suppliers or consultants, and consequently paid large amounts into the companies’ respective bank accounts.
"It is alleged Fakir, and the entities under his control, as well as Le Roux and his entity, played a central role as the suppliers and consultants who were irregularly and/or fraudulently awarded contracts and received payments from the Nelson Mandela Metro," added Ngwema.
While Abrahams and Wessels, with their respective entities, Dankovista Pty Ltd and Zeranza 299 Pty Ltd, were members of the alleged syndicate in private business, they allegedly acted as professional launderers.
They accepted payments from Fakir’s companies, and from each other, partly for themselves, and for onward distribution to other syndicate members.
The case was remanded to 12 March 2021, for the State to seek authorisation from the NDPP to prosecute on charges of racketeering in the High Court.
Bobani, former mayor and councillor in the metro, died last week, News24 reported.Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.