Six arrested in NC health fraud scandal

The Hawks in the Northern Cape have arrested six people for their alleged involvement in a near R10 million fraud scandal that has rocked the provincial Health Department.

OFM News reports that Hawks spokesperson, Nomthandazo Mnisi, tells OFM News, the suspects include the project manager of the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley. Mnisi says the alleged fraud dates back to a 2014 multi-regional renovation project.

According to Mnisi, in 2014 the Northern Cape Department of Health awarded contracts for the renovation of varied hospitals across the province’s regions. “Those contracts were awarded to various business entities, whose directors were related”. All six suspects are appearing in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

This is the latest in a string of arrests made by the directorate in the last few months regarding, alleged tender fraud in Central South Africa.

In the North West, JB Marks Municipality Mayor, Khotso Khumalo, senior municipal official Cyril Henry, and caretaker Mohau Shuping were arrested and charged with eight counts of fraud and theft in October over R5 million that was placed in a trust account intended for the municipality. It is alleged that the funds in the trust which according to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) were donated by the “North-West University (NWU) and the Programme for Community Development” for the municipality’s special projects ended up in the bank accounts of the accused. The trio stands accused of falsifying invoices, making it appear that the unlawful payments were for services rendered.

Whilst in the Free State, last week, ANC Secretary-General, Ace Magashule became the eighth person, arrested in connection with the controversial R255 million asbestos housing audit tender that grabbed media headlines. Magashule’s co-accused, include the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Johannesburg-based Blackhead Consulting, Edwin Sodi, former head of the Free State Human Settlements Department Nthimotse Mokhesi;  businessman Sello Radebe; the former Director-General (DG) of the National Human Settlements Department Thabane Zulu; and former Mangaung Metro Mayor Olly Mlamleli amongst others.

Sodi was awarded the R255 million worth tender by the provincial human settlements department in a joint venture with Diamond Hill Trading, owned by slain Welkom businessman Igo Mpambani. The deal is at the heart of Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule’s Web of Capture. Sodi went on to admit at the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, that he failed to declare that his company had no accreditation to carry out the entire project and that he had invested in a residential property in Bloemfontein with the then provincial head of the Human Settlements department, Mokhesi.

Mokhesi during his separate testimony at the Commission could, not explain why Sodi invested R650 000 in the house he lived in just months after his department awarded the joint venture the R255 million contract. Zulu, on the other end, is said to have benefited from a R600 000 payment towards the purchase of a Range Rover made by Sodi in KwaZulu-Natal in December 2016. Mlamleli was the then MEC of the provincial Human Settlements Department and is alleged to have also received kickbacks from the deal. The accused in the latter matter, have been released out on bail ranging between R 50 000 and a whopping R 500 000. They will return to the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court in February 2020.