Fraud corruption, money laundering charges

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The former mayor of Makhudu Thamaga municipality in Limpopo, Kgaola Mafiri, was arrested and charged with fraud on Friday.

Mafiri, who is currently serving on the mayoral committee of the Sekhukhune district municipality, and four accomplices were arrested by the SAPS specialised commercial crimes unit in Pretoria and appeared in the Polokwane magistrates' court on the same day.

Richard Tshabalala, a senior state prosecutor for the unit, said that Mafiri, 44, and his alleged accomplices Collins Malekana, 38, James Malekana, 49, Kgoputso Moreiwane, 44, and Abdul Muneer Essa, 41, were all charged with fraud, corruption and money laundering.

Mafiri was released on R20 000 bail, both Malekanas on R10000 each, Essa on R25000 and Moreiwane on R2000. The case was postponed to June 18 for further investigations.

Tshabalala said investigations started in 2005 after the unit had received a tip-off that Mafiri was involved in an alleged scam during his tenure as mayor.

Tshabalala said the unit discovered that Mafiri had allegedly approached several community members in his area and convinced them to register close corporations so that they could get tenders from the Department of Education to deliver stationery to schools.

It was later discovered, he said, that Mafiri and his co-accused had changed ownership of the closed corporations using forged signatures.

Mafiri and his co-accused then presented the documents to the Companies and Intellectual Property (Cipro) offices of the registrar of companies and close corporations, and registered them in the name of a wellknown Jane Furse area businessman, Abdul Muneer Essa.

"They forged the signatures of the owners of the close corporations on session documents, by so doing purporting to seed the rights of the owners of the companies which had won tenders with the department of education, to seed them to Freedom Stationery," Tshabalala explained.

Tshabalala said the department would pay Freedom Stationery, which would then pay the money to Essa for his services.

Thereafter Essa would make sure that Mafiri and the others got their shares.

"These people have swindled the government of money in the most corrupt manner," said Tshabalala.

He said the amount involved was in excess of R30million.