The Hawks are about to arrest rogue officials of Sekhukhune who diverted over R5-million from the impoverished district municipality to individuals in a scheme that saw close to R1 million ending up in the account of gambling giant, Emperors Palace.
Sunday World can reveal that the Hawks are investigating fraud of R5.4 million, which involves officials looting municipal coffers and diverting the money to individuals.
The officials hatched the scheme by using invoices of service providers who would have done work for the municipality and redirect the funds to individuals who did not even have contracts with the municipality.
They changed the banking details of service providers when making payments.
According to an affidavit of the officer investigating the case, a company called Fiedos General Trading and Projects received over R948 000 from the Sekhukhune district municipality on July 9 2018.
On the same day, an amount of R900 000 was transferred from Fiedos to the Emperors Palace Casino’s bank account held at the resort’s mother company, Peermont.
In what is suspected to be a scheme to clean stolen money and make it look like casino winnings, Feidos’ Sivhadana Murovhi transferred the money, which was supposed to be paid to a company legitimately awarded a contract to provide security, Peak Security.
The officials also diverted over R3-million to a bank account held by a certain Mr RE Mavhunga, who was paid in two tranches of R2 million and R1 million on July 6 2018. The payments were supposed to be paid to Nape Multi Professionals for the completion of VIP toilet structures in Tafelkop.
When we discovered that fraud is involved, we froze the money.
The affidavit also states that over R1.4 million was paid into an account held by Bongani Mosupyoe on July 6 2018. The payment was meant to be deposited to an entity called PicaBiz 367, which was awarded a tender for water supply.
Emperors’ group legal specialist Themba Mnguni said it “assumed” Murovhi’s transfer of the money was for gaming purposes.
“When we discovered that fraud is involved, we froze the money so that we can determine its lawful owner. We then transferred the money to our attorneys [Webber Wentzel] pending investigation of the rightful owner,” he said.
Mnguni, who denied that the company had any links with Murovhi, said Peermont spent over R400 000 on legal costs to ensure that the municipality was paid back the R900 000.
Murovhi did not answer written questions, after asking for numbers of this reporter. Mosupyoe also did not answer written questions, while Mavhunga could not be reached.
Spokesperson for the Hawks in Limpopo Captain Matimba Maluleke said the arrests were going to be made soon. “The investigations are at an advanced stage,” he said.
Sekhukhune municipality spokesperson Moloko Moloto said it had so far recovered R4.9 million and put in place measures to ensure that corrupt activities do not recur.
“Executive mayor Keamotseng Stanley Ramaila hopes arrests will be made once police conclude their criminal investigations,” he said.
Moloto declined to name the implicated officials.