Hawks swoop in R63m tender scandal
Limpopo - For the remaining tenderpreneurs allegedly implicated in a Limpopo pothole tender scandal, Christmas might not be a good time.
The Hawks are planning more arrests in the R63 million tender scandal, which was allegedly of fraudulent benefit to Julius Malema’s cousin Tshepo and ally Collins Foromo.
Already 13 “tenderpreneurs”, including a senior manager in the Limpopo Roads and Transport Department, Mmakgomo Kgosana, have been arrested for fraud.
Tshepo Malema’s Arandi Trading Enterprise and Foromo’s TC Foromo Trading Enterprise are among companies that were awarded contracts to fix potholes by the department under questionable conditions last year.
Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said on Sunday that more arrests would be made . “Our investigations are continuing. We will make more arrests, some of them will not enjoy Christmas,” he said.
The contracts were awarded in February last year after heavy rains in the province.
Ramaloko said Kgosana wrote a letter to motivate for the awarding of contracts to mend potholes. But Siviko Mabunda, of the Forum of Limpopo Entrepreneurs, alleged that some companies were paid for doing nothing.
He reported this to the Hawks and the Public Protector. Mabunda said tender procedures had been flouted in the awarding of the contracts. But former department spokesman Theesan Moodley told The Star last year that procedures had been followed.
“We are not worried at all because… we considered this to be cost-effective,” Moodley said at the time.
Roads and Transport is among five departments that were placed under administration last year for maladministration and financial mismanagement.
On Sunday, Ramaloko said some of the companies even placed bids to patch potholes on gravel roads. “How do you patch a pothole on a gravel road?” he asked, adding that some of those arrested appeared to be clueless about company registration and bidding for tenders.
On Wednesday, the Hawks arrested Cedric Phukubje, Calvin Legodi, Hlangelani Phasha, Precisous Lekolwane, Mabina Ratshidi, Denis Khoza and Mulalo Nelwamondo. Kgosana was also arrested.
Tshepo Malema, Foromo, Calton Marule, Portia Sebela, Sekgobokgobo Legodi and Betty Mashashane were arrested on Thursday.
All the suspects appeared before the Polokwane Magistrate Court last week and were granted bail of between R5 000 and R10 000. Their cases were postponed to January 29 and 30.
Their arrests came in the same week Julius Malema appeared before the Polokwane Regional Court on a charge of money laundering involving R4.5 million. A further charge of racketeering was added to Malema’s charge sheet.