Three more arrested in Mpumalanga Public Works fraud and corruption case

A trio of men believed to have been part of the public works operations that saw around R4.2 million swindled appeared in court last week.

After a lengthy investigation into the alleged corruption, money laundering, fraud and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act at the Departments of Public Works in Mpumalanga, law enforcement agencies have managed to secure three more arrests earlier this week.

The accused, Deputy Director of Property Management at the Department of Public Works, Sifiso Kobus Mkhabela (42), the Director of Ntando MS Trading, Andiswa Dibakoane (23) and the Director of Ligcabo Properties, Bongani Lukhele (45), appeared before the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 14 December 2022, on the above-mentioned charges.

It is believed that the trio was part of the operations that saw around R4.2 million swindled.

The investigation was carried out by the Nelspruit bases Hawks’ Serious Corruption Unit together with the Special Investigations Unit and the Judiciary.

Six arrested in September

In September this year, the Hawks also managed to arrest six other suspects in connection with the same illicit activities that were going on at the Department of Public Works.

Among those arrested were the Chief Director of the Department of Public Works, Sipho Ronny Monareng (50), an Accountant at the Department of Public Works, Mcdonald Buko Sigudla (43), a State Accountant at the Department of Public Works, Bandile Jacob Ngcebo (41) as well as three suppliers; Maganeleng Antony Mashigo (43), Whisky Delisa Khumalo (45) and Tshidi Suzen Sedibe (43) who were also released on R10 000 bail each on 28 September 2022.

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It was reported that the group allegedly siphoned R1.38 million from the department in Mpumalanga last year, for rendering services that were never carried out during the Covid pandemic, after they were fraudulently awarded a tender.

The SIU investigations uncovered evidence of fraud between the officials and service providers amounting to approximately R1.3 million.

The matter was assigned to the Hawks in November 2021 for probing. During further Investigation, it was established that Monareng facilitated the whole process.

SIU finds damning evidence

The SIU reported that as it sifted through bank records, the probe found that Maganeleni made numerous potentially corrupt payments to Monareng, while Superia also made numerous potentially corrupt payments to Sigudla. The bank records also indicate that Superia made numerous potentially corrupt payments to Ngcobo.

The SIU investigation found that there was fraudulent invoicing for services not rendered and inflation of kilometres claimed.

In an instance where service providers were contracted to do fumigation, there was fraudulent inflation of square metres claimed, which resulted in the Department of Publi Works paying more than what it should have.

The case was finalised and handed over to the court which issued warrants for their arrest.

The trio were released on R15 000 bail each and the case was postponed to 19 January 2023 for further investigation.

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