Suspended Ratlou municipality manager’s PA arrested for ‘stealing documents’

The stolen documents are reportedly of utmost importance in shedding light on possible irregularities and corrupt practices.

A 27-year-old suspect believed to be the former personal assistant of a senior Ratlou municipality official has been apprehended by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation Unit and is set to make an appearance before the Atamelang Magistrate’s Court on 2 May 2023.

According to police, the arrest, which took place on 1 June 2023 in Delareyville, is linked to alleged theft and obstruction of justice, casting a spotlight on potential corruption within the municipality.

Crucial tender documents

Police spokesperson, Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso, said the suspect stands accused of stealing crucial tender documents and original invoices pertaining to an ongoing investigation into a particular tender.

It is believed that these documents were unlawfully acquired subsequent to a request made by the investigating officer handling the case.

ALSO READ: Former Ratlou municipal manager in court over R5.8m tender fraud

“The tender, currently under scrutiny by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, has attracted significant attention due to its potential implications for local governance.

“The stolen documents are reportedly of utmost importance in shedding light on possible irregularities and corrupt practices within the municipality,” he said.

As the investigation into the tender gains momentum, the suspension of a senior official within the municipality has raised eyebrows.

It is suspected that this administrative action is directly connected to the same tender under investigation, as the stolen documents were known to be vital evidence.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation said that it was leaving no stone unturned in its pursuit of justice and transparency.

Significant breakthrough

Meanwhile, the arrest of the 27-year-old PA has been hailed as a significant breakthrough in the ongoing investigation.

Major General Patrick Mbotho, the provincial head for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, commended the officers involved for pursuing the investigation which has culminated in the successful apprehension of the suspect.

ALSO READ: North West municipality denies spending millions allocated to water crisis

Previously, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) were granted a warrant to raid offices of the Ratlou Local Municipality, after the municipality failed to cooperate with SIU investigation.  

The SIU reported that it received information from a whistleblower that a senior official at the municipality instructed officials to appoint service providers who are allegedly known to the senior official, for the provision of PPE and material to be used for disinfection of buildings.

Read more on these topics

hawks municipality tender