Municipal fraud suspects arrested

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

A former mayor was among six people arrested at the weekend for allegedly defrauding a Limpopo municipality of R2million.

The suspects were arrested by the police's specialised commercial crimes unit in Pretoria in connection with allegations that they defrauded the Makhuduthamaga municipality in Sekhukhune.

This follows an intensive investigation into the finances of the municipality for the past few years.

Among those arrested were former mayor, Abram Kgaola Mafiri, and the municipality's chief financial officer, Edwina Moyana.

Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said yesterday: "I can confirm that our unit in Pretoria has arrested prominent people in the Sekhukhune area on allegations of defrauding the Makhuduthamaga municipality."

He said the arrests were made on Friday and Saturday. Some of the suspects, he said, were still on the run.

He said among those arrested were the technical director at the municipality, an independent consultant, a contractor and a businessman.

"We are investigating circumstances under which the suspects issued the municipality's money fraudulently and will release finer details as and when the investigations are complete," Ramatseba said.

He said more arrests were looming.

Mafiri is also expected to appear in the Polokwane magistrates' court, together with four accomplices, on August 16 in connection with a scam involving more than R30million.

This after the group forced communities in the Sekhukhune area to register companies. The companies ultimately won tenders from the Limpopo education department to distribute stationery to various schools in the province.

Mafiri and his group allegedly directed the money generated from those tenders into their own accounts, leaving the company "owners" penniless.

A source in the specialised commercial crimes unit hinted yesterday that the arrests were just the tip of the iceberg.