Christmas is a time of giving, sharing and caring.
Buy when stealing is incorporated in the spirit of Christmas it usually ends in tears.
Three former and current senior officials at the Ngqushwa local municipality appeared in court on Friday for their alleged involvement in a R273,000 Christmas party for local senior citizens and the physically challenged.
Former municipal manager Misiwe Mphahlwa, 54, former acting CFO Tinus Matthysen, 63, and current director for corporate services Mkhuseli Mxekezo, 49, were charged with fraud, corruption and contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act.
They were released by the area magistrate’s court on R1,000 bail each.
The three are alleged to have approved spending for the party without following procurement processes in December 2019.
It is alleged the party was arranged only a day before the actual event and that all supply chain processes were circumvented.
Hawks spokesperson Yolisa Mgolodela said the three joined Busiswa Mfunda, the former manager in the mayor’s office, who was allegedly behind the transaction.
Mgolodela said that on December 11 2019, Mfunda had allegedly drafted a memorandum motivating the procurement of goods and services for the event.
“The strange part in all this was that the event was to be held the following day. Given that the amount required was over R200,000, this, according to the Municipal Finance Management Act, should have gone to tender and that was not the case in this matter.
“The then municipal manager [allegedly] instructed the CFO to authorise payment,” Mgolodela said.
Mfunda had allegedly submitted documentation for “ghost” service providers and their bank accounts. However, these accounts were allegedly later traced back to her, Mgolodela said.
In February 2020, a whistle blower reported the discrepancies to the Hawks and on investigating, the former manager was arrested and her case postponed to October 6 2021.
The bail conditions of Mphahlwa, Matthysen and Mxekezo stipulate they may not make contact with witnesses, must report address changes to the investigator, may not miss court dates and must indicate when they are travelling outside the province.
The Hawks in the Eastern Cape had made great strides in wrapping up several other fraud and corruption investigations, Mgolodela said on Friday. Arrests were imminent, she added.
Content created and supplied by: Nomsaa (via Opera News )