A Sol Plaatje official working in the municipality’s building control section was arrested by the Hawks on Wednesday.
The 48-year-old technical assistant was arrested for alleged fraud in connection with illegal payments linked to both the approval and drawing of new house plans or the redrawing of building plans of existing buildings.
Hawks spokesperson, Philani Nkwalase, said the investigation has shown that the apparent fraud took place between 2011 and 2016. About ten victims approached the police so far.
The investigation has also revealed that the man had a previous theft conviction prior to his appointment at the municipality. Nkwalase said this was allegedly not disclosed during his appointment in January 2008 and now forms part of the Hawks’ investigation.
Sol Plaatje’s municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, confirmed the arrest of the official. He said it followed after collaboration between the municipality and the Hawks.
Matsie said the municipality will have its own internal disciplinary action after the criminal case is done. He said the municipality has a responsibility to protect the intellectual property rights of architects and residents who paid to procure building plans.
“We encourage members of the public to provide law enforcement agencies with any information about acts of corruption and maladministration.”
Nkwalase said the man was expected to appear in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Thursday 2 February 2017. He faces charges of fraud and corruption as well as non-disclosure of crucial information at the time of his appointment. Police said the estimated value of the fraudulent acts combined with the salary gained during the period of his employment exceeds R2.2 million. – André Grobler