More suspects are due for arrest following the initial arrest of a 48-year-old male, a former employee of the Free State Department of Health, who stands accused of defrauding the department of over R7.8 million.
This is according to Hawks spokesperson, S’fiso Nyakane, who said that the matter is still under investigation. The accused, Bassie Andrews, who worked for the department’s Supply Chain Management division, is facing over 194 charges of money laundering, fraud, forgery, and uttering. It is alleged that between 2013 and 2015, Andrews conned the department through the submission of fraudulent procurement applications.
He then resigned from the department in April 2016, following the discovery that an investigation against him was launched. He was arrested in the North West where he was found by the Hawks on Thursday 24 August 2017 and appeared at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday 25 August 2017.
The matter was postponed to Friday 1 September, when he was granted bail of R5000. He is set to appear in court again on 3 October 2017.
Meanwhile, departmental spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, said that the matter took so long because it was being handled by the provincial government’s anti-fraud and corruption wing and there were intricate matters to deal with.
“Our anti-fraud and corruption efforts are slowed down by the reluctance of whistle-blowers and witnesses to speak and come forward with evidence. We welcome the patience and competence of our Anti-fraud and Corruption Unit,” he said. Mvambi also said the department is aware that Andrews did not work alone and as a result, he expects more arrests should follow as a result of the breakthrough in this case.
“Our work is ongoing and there will be no place to hide for wrong doers. Despite the intricacies and sensitivity of anti- fraud and corruption cases not withstanding our capacity to be involved in long drawn out and complicated cases that are meticulously planned, our Anti-fraud and Corruption Unit remained resolved to crack this case and we are continuing with a wide range of investigations,” he said.
He also revealed that the department is happy that the matter is now being handled by the Hawks as they are more skilled and resourceful than the government’s anti-corruption unit.
He also said he hopes the incident will serve as a stern warning to all government employees to steer clear of corruption related activities.
– PULANE CHOANE