News | South Africa | Courts
As the court process drags on, the South African Police Service (Saps) has wrapped up internal inquiries into 10 officers and clerks facing criminal charges on the back of a multimillion-rand car branding scandal.
Eight have lost their jobs and two were suspended. Six more will soon know their fate.
In the past eight months, nearly 30 former and current Saps staff have been handcuffed over tens of millions of rands worth of dodgy dealings in the supply chain management division.
This was the result of an investigation by the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) investigating directorate and an anti-corruption task team tasked with probing the awarding of R56 million of tenders to mark and unmark Saps vehicles in 2018.
The investigation uncovered, as the police described it, “massive looting of state funds through procurement irregularities, cover quoting and fraudulent processing of contracts”.
It is alleged this was part of a scheme channelling contracts to the same select suppliers through different companies they had registered on the supplier database.
The allegations against the accused also relate to contracts for installing palisade fencing, repair of state vehicles, gardening, painting and servicing forklifts.
In May, the High Court in Pretoria froze the bank accounts of companies linked to Lorette Joubert and Kumarasen Prithviray, who had been implicated.
And in June, 16 suspects were charged with corruption, theft and money laundering, including 10 from the Saps.
They also arrested six civilians, including Joubert and Prithviray.
In August, the authorities rounded up another 15 suspects, including nine former and current Saps employees.
Since then, another 14 accused, among them nine from the Saps, have also been nabbed.
There are now 45 accused in the case. Among them are 29 former and current Saps staff, with roles and ranks ranging from clerk to warrant officer, to captain, colonel, brigadier and even lieutenant-general.
Dr Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies said an apparent criminal network spanning so widely across rank was “extremely worrying”.
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