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EC premier's advisor among those arrested by Hawks for fraud, corruption

One of the nine people arrested by the Hawks today in connection with fraud and corruption charges, is the Eastern Cape Premier, Oscar Mabuyane’s top advisor, Zandisile Qupe.

metro officials among those arrested by Hawks toda
The nine people arrested by the Hawks today in connection with fraud and corruption, include the EC premier's top advisor and a Nelson Mandela Bay Metro Executive Director and former deputy mayor.

Qupe and his co-accused, Mhleleli Mlungisi Tshamase, the metro’s Executive Director of Infrastructure and Engineering, Walter Shaidi, Fareed Fakir, Rukaard Abrahams, Andrea Wessels, Nadia Gerwel, Dawid Le Roux and former deputy mayor Thando “Chippa” Ngcolomba, handed themselves over to the Hawks at the Humewood police station at 07:00 this morning.

They appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates Court shortly after on charges of fraud, money laundering, corruption and the contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA). This is in connection with tender corruption worth approximately R73 million. The tenth person that was to be arrested, is the metro’s late former mayor, Mongameli Bobani, who was laid to rest today.

The nine 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 were released on bail between R5 000 and R100 000. Although they face counts under Schedule five of the Criminal Procedure Act, the state did not oppose bail as all were aware that they were under investigation and didn’t pose a flight risk. The matter was remanded until March 12 next year for the state to seek authorisation from the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) to prosecute on charges of racketeering in the high court.

According to a statement released by the Hawks, it is alleged that between 2013 and 2015, the nine operated as a syndicate to fraudulently and corruptly benefit specific suppliers or consultants (Fakir, Abrahams, Wessels, Le Roux and their companies), to the prejudice of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and the National Treasury with the amount of approximately R73 million.

 “Generally, the individual accused played various roles within the syndicate. It is alleged that political office bearers, Qupe, Ngcolomba and the late Bobani, wielded political power within the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro structures and used their positions to control decision-making in the procurement processes," the statement read.

“They allegedly obtained co-operation of specific individuals and influenced appointments in critical municipal positions and the appointment of people and entities as suppliers or consultants that were willing to advance the interests of the syndicate,” the statement further read.

It is also alleged that Tshamase, Shaidi and Gerwel abused their municipal positions to manage the internal Nelson Mandela Metro processes in ways designed to ensure the irregular appointment of all Fakir’s companies and Le Roux’s company as suppliers or consultants and consequently paid large amounts into the companies’ respective bank accounts.

Fakir and Le Roux and the entities under their control, allegedly played a central role as the suppliers and consultants who were irregularly and/or fraudulently awarded contracts and received payments from the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

It is alleged that Abrahams and Wessels, with their respective entities, were members of the syndicate in private business, that acted as professional launderers. “They allegedlyaccepted payments from Fakir’s companies and from each other, partly for themselves and for onward distribution to other syndicate members,” the statement concluded.

More charges are expected to be added before the matter is referred for prosecution in the high court.   

Source: Hawks media statement

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