Politician and CEO expected to join corruption suspects in the dock

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

A senior South African politician, who allegedly received kickbacks from a company that won tenders worth millions from his department, is expected to join in the dock four senior officials who have been arrested and charged with fraud and corruption.

Brian Hlongwa, a former Gauteng MEC of Health, was found by a probe by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU),  to have had a corruption relationship with Gavin Payne, the CEO of 3P Consulting. The charges brought against the four officials, who appeared in court on Thursday, are based on the findings of the SIU.

The SIU found that Hlongwa had received kickbacks, which he did not declare as required by law, to the Gauteng Legislature. These included:

  • A total of R3.6-million deposit for a house in Bryanston, Johannesburg.
  • Cash totalling R1.5-million.
  • Several local and overseas trips to destinations such as London, Mauritius, Dubai and Zambia.
  • Spa treatment.

The companies owned by Hlongwa and Payne are also expected to be charged. The SIU found that a company called Ukhwakha Designs, partly owned by Payne, was used for corrupt activities with Hlongwa and several officials in the department, including the four who were arrested.

The kickbacks were in the form refurbishments, renovations to properties and the purchase of furniture. Hlongwa has previously denied the allegations. 

 Four former senior Gauteng Health Department officials are out on bail after they were in connection with fraud, corruption and money laundering in connection with an irregular R1,2-billion information technology tender.

Former head of department Sybil Ngcobo, Mmakgosi Mosupi (former director of information and communication), Valdis Ramaano (former head of supply chain) and Obakeng Moekeletsi (former deputy director general), were arrested by The Hawks and  appeared in the Palm Ridge Commercial Crimes Court.

The state alleges that in 2007,  the four were involved in criminal activities which resulted in a tender for R57-millions ballooning to R1.2-bilion without following due processes. The four allegedly received kickbacks, running into millions, to ensure that the tender was awarded to an undeserving entity.

“Two private companies directors who unduly benefited from the tender are yet to be charged along with their two companies. The said directors are reportedly outside the country but steps have already been initiated to ensure that they are accounted for,” the Hawks said in a statement.

  • In a separate development, a 48 year-old woman was arrested and has appeared in court after her arrest in connection with fraud totalling R4.8-million. The state alleges that Phumza Gambula submitted fraudulent documents to various municipalities in the Eastern Cape, purporting that she had conducted door-to-door awareness campaigns for the prevention and containment of COVID-19 pandemic to the rural communities of Port St Johns, King Sabatha Dalinyebo and Mhlonto. Gambula was granted bail of R20 000 and expected back in court on October 30.