Hawks raid second Eastern Cape municipality

The Alfred Nzo district municipality was again under police investigation when the Hawks raided its EmaXesibeni offices on Friday.
Image: FILE/ ELVIS NTOMBELA

The Alfred Nzo district municipality was again under police investigation when the Hawks raided its EmaXesibeni offices on Friday.

The search-and-seizure operation was to secure critical documents linked to a R36m fraud and corruption investigation, said Hawks national spokesperson Lieut-Col Philani Nkwalase, who was part of the raid.

The Hawks’  serious corruption investigation team arrived unannounced.

“It is alleged that senior municipal officials colluded with service providers and fashioned a criminal network that acted in a co-ordinated manner,”  Nkwalase said.

“The criminal network, allegedly operating outside and within the municipality, created a duplicate tender contract that was already in place and procurement processes were disregarded. This tender, worth R36m, was awarded to another service provider, reportedly linked to the syndicate.”

He alleged that a subcontracted company had transferred money to the municipal officials to disguise the source and movement of funds.

”The municipality suffered a loss of undue payments over a period between 2014 and 2018 for the duplicate service of revenue and billing management. No arrests were made pending the finalisation of the probe,” he said

He said that some of the documents taken had been given to  a SAPS provincial task team investigating another cases.

Municipal spokesperson Lixolile Petela said the municipality would comply fully with the investigation.

He said: “We believe everything will be in order here. There have been many other investigations. We have received an unqualified audit opinion last [year] and we are also gunning for [another] clean audit. We believe that we have done nothing wrong. We welcome the interventions.”.

This was the second raid on an Eastern Cape municipality this week, following a visit to the Inxuba Yethemba municipality in Cradock.

By Lulamile Feni

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