Former municipal managers, engineer battle tender corruption charges

Two former Sakhisizwe local municipality officials and an engineer on Thursday appeared at the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for fraud.

The police said Dumile Mvulane, a 59-year-old former municipality manager at Sakhizwe, 45-year-old former municipal project manager Nothemba Ntlantsana-Toyi, and Claudius Nhawu, 42, who is an engineer and director at Sky High Engineering Consulting were in court to answer to tender corruption allegations.

Police spokesperson Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said in the 2017/18 financial year, it is alleged that Sakhizwe local municipality needed an engineering company to improve its sports field in Elliot, a small town in the Eastern Cape.

The sports field project was allocated R12-million.

“The tender was advertised and companies submitted their documents for bidding. It is alleged that the bidding committee nominated the deserving company and forwarded the name to the municipal manager at the time, who is reported to have changed the name without providing reasons to the Treasury,” said Mgolodela.

The tender was thus given to Sky High Engineering Consulting, which is alleged to have escalated the costs, exceeding the budget by more than R4.9-million.

“That is how the auditor-general discovered the discrepancy, and a complaint was lodged with the Hawks’ serious commercial crimes investigation team in East London for probing in August 2019,” she added.

The trio is facing charges of fraud, contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act, and has since been granted R10 000 bail each. The accused are expected to appear in court again on August 1.

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