Free State executive mayor, former MM in court for corruption

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Councillor James Tseki, who is the Executive Mayor of the Dihlabeng Local Municipality, and the former Municipal Manager, Busa Petrus Molatseli, both appeared in court on charges of fraud, theft, corruption, and money laundering.

This is according to Hawks spokesperson Zweli Mohobeleli, who explained that Tseki (43) and Molatseli (57) appeared before the Bethlehem Magistrate’s Court where they were granted bail of R5000.

Mohobeleli said the arrest of the two by the Free State Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation’s (Hawks) Serious Corruption Investigation Unit was following a complaint filed in December 2021 about irregular salary payments made to the former Municipal Manager.

After an intensive Hawks investigation, a warrant was issued for their arrest in May 2023.

It is alleged that Molatseli, during a period when he was placed on suspension pending a separate criminal matter against him, submitted a memorandum to the Executive Mayor requesting back payment of his salary.

“It is further alleged that Tseki signed this memorandum without the approval of the council, thereby resulting in losses to the municipality amounting to about R250 000.”

Major General Mokgadi Bokaba, the Free State Hawks commander, has praised the investigation team.

“They have worked tirelessly to piece together the investigation and present a strong case before the National Prosecuting Authority. In keeping with our mandate, we will leave no stone unturned in pursuing anyone involved in corruption and looting of the public purse,” warned Bokaba.

The case against both suspects was postponed to 10 August 2023 when they will again appear in the Bethlehem Magistrate’s Court.

Compiled by Bonolo Moloi