Limpopo CFO in court for alleged fraud

A municipal employee who has been arrested on charges of fraud will re-appear in court at the end of the month.

Charles Malema, the chief financial officer (CFO) of the Modimolle-Mookgophong Municipality, located in the Waterberg District in Limpopo, appeared in court on five charges of fraud in the Groblersdal Magistrates Court on October 9.

Malema was appointed as CFO in June.

According to Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi from the National Prosecuting Authority, five former employees of the Sekhukhune District Municipality were arrested. Malema (42), Andries Mokgotho (45), and Kedibone Magagane (45) were employed by the district municipality as CFO, expenditure clerk, and expenditure manager respectively.

It is alleged that they made payments of R5.4 million to Sivhadana Murovhi (39) and Bongani Masupye (45) between July 5 to 7, 2018, without them ever rendering any services to the municipality.

The NPA stated that the money should have been paid to three service providers that rendered security services, collected water reticulation, and completed precast VIP toilet structures.

The court granted Malema and Murovhi R8 000 bail each, and Mokgotho, Masupye, and Magagane R5 000 bail each. The company Fidos General Trading (Pty) Ltd was also charged with fraud.

Court date set

The matter was transferred to the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes Court and the accused will appear again on October 23.

An acting CFO Moloko Matlala, who served in the position previously, has been appointed.

According to Sechele Sebolai, mayor of the Modimolle-Mookgophong Municipality, the municipality had difficulty getting hold of Malema last week after he did not attend meetings.

“We are still gathering more information on this issue,” he said. “If the CFO is unavailable for more than 10 days, we may have to take the matter to council and make a new appointment.”

Malema’s LinkedIn profile indicates that he was employed at the Thabazimbi Municipality from 2012 until 2014, as CFO; at the Sekhukhune District Municipality from 2015 to 2018, as acting CFO; at the Mogalakwena Municipality from 2015 until 2018, as CFO; and at the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality in the North West, as CFO, from 2020 until 2022.

According to councillors, Malema attended a special council meeting on October 10.

It seems that it is not the first time Malema has been embroiled in allegations of fraud. In 2019, while he was the CFO at the Mogalakwena Municipality, AfriForum opened criminal cases against him and the mayor, Andrina Matsemela, after allegations that an amount of R1.5 million was spent on her birthday party.

Several news reports during the same year stated that the municipality appointed forensic investigators to probe two payments totalling R2.5 million made to incorrect recipients on January 24, 2019.

According to a media release issued by the municipality at the time, it was discovered that during the payment process, the banking details of the two suppliers were changed and diverted to other recipients.

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