FS government officials expected in court

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Seven suspects arrested in connection with the Rekgonne Community Projects – a company that entered into an agreement with Free State Agriculture and Rural Development in 2014 to implement all projects on behalf of the department – are due in court.

OFM News reports, the suspects, which include the former Head of the Free State Department of Agriculture, Peter Thabethe, former Chief Financial Officer Seipati Sylvia Dlamini and other government officials, were arrested by the Hawks in July and August respectively for corruption, fraud, and money laundering of over R244 million. It’s alleged money intended for the department’s projects and Estina was unlawfully paid into Rekgonne’s business accounts and the bank accounts of the accused.

The Hawks spokesperson, Katlego Mogale, previously confirmed to OFM News preliminary investigations into the case indicate financial irregularities and large amounts deposited into Rekgonne Community Projects’ account between January 2012 and December 2016, as well as into some of the suspects’ bank accounts.

The 55-year-old Malikomo Mohapi, who is confirmed to be the sole director of Rekgonne Community Projects, alongside Lerato Mngomezulu, Disebo Masiteng, Mokemane Ndumo, Mahlomola Mofokeng, Dlamini and Thabethe are expected in court on Monday.

Whilst OFM News previously reported that over R220 million earmarked for Estina to assist upcoming farmers in Vrede was looted from the province, with none of the intended beneficiaries seeing a single cent and some of the money deposited into Rekgonne Community Projects, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phaladi Shuping earlier this month corrected information that the project was directly linked to Estina, explaining that investigators stumbled across it whilst they were investigating the dairy farm saga.

OFM News/KATLEHO MORAPELA