South Africa

Eight suspects, including officials from EC premier’s office, nabbed for alleged fraud

Officials nabbed R20m fraud

High-ranking officials from the Eastern Cape premier’s office, implicated in a R20 million tender, arrested for alleged fraud, forgery, and money laundering.

Eight suspects, including high-ranking officials from the Eastern Cape premier’s office, were arrested on Monday for allegations of fraud, forgery, utterance, money laundering, and contravention of Section 86(1) of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

According to Hawks spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela, the suspects, aged between 43 and 71, were nabbed during the early hours of Monday in Gauteng.

“It is alleged that in January 2016, the Department of Education requested the Eastern Cape Office of the Premier to assist on an emergency procurement of 72 temporary classrooms and furniture to be deployed in the Gqeberha and Uitenhage areas,” Mgolodela said.

R20m tender for temporary classrooms and furniture

After that, a business was chosen to receive the more than R20 million temporary classroom and furniture tender.

Mgolodela said that information was received implicating senior officials in following improper procurement processes during the appointment of the company, and the preferred service provider was closely linked to the senior office of the premier officials.

“Further allegations are that the delivery of the said classrooms was not completed within the province, but funds allocated accordingly were exhausted,” Mgolodela said.

After the situation was brought to the attention of the Hawks for investigation, eight individuals from Gauteng were taken into custody by the East London Serious Corruption Investigation, Serious Commercial Crime Investigation of the Hawks, and the National Serious Corruption Investigation of the Hawks, jointly with the South African Police Service’s (Saps) Joint Anti-Corruption Team and the Gauteng National Intervention Unit, early on Monday.

Suspects in transit to Eastern Cape

The Hawks further confirmed on Monday afternoon that the eight suspects were in transit to the Eastern Cape, where they will make their first court appearance on Tuesday, 12 December 2023 at Zwelitsha Magistrate’s Court.

Brigadier Selina Motlalepula Maponya, the acting provincial head, praised the teams’ collaborative efforts in making sure the suspects were brought forward to face Lady Justice’s “powerful arm”.