Council suspends fraud suspects

FINGERED: Former Makhuduthamaga mayor Abram Mafiri. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. 16/08/07. © Sowetan.
FINGERED: Former Makhuduthamaga mayor Abram Mafiri. Pic. Elijar Mushiana. 16/08/07. © Sowetan.

Frank Maponya

Frank Maponya

The Makhuduthamaga Municipality has suspended two officials who were fingered in a scam that allegedly defrauded the council of more than R2million.

This follows the arrest of the officials and five other people, including the municipality's former mayor, Abram Kgaola Mafiri.

They were charged with defrauding the municipality of large amounts of money by awarding tenders irregularly.

Edwina Moyaba, the municipality's chief financial officer, and John Mgebisa, the director for technical services, were suspended with full pay pending an investigations.

Mayor Queen Mokhabela told Sowetan yesterday that the council had resolved to suspend Moyaba and Mgebisa while conducting its own investigations.

"We have suspended the two officials to allow for a smooth and hassle-free internal investigation," said Mokhabela.

She said the suspension was effective from August 10.

Mokhabela further confirmed that the auditor-general had raised concerns after discovering irregularities in the awarding of tenders.

"We are in the process of appointing an independent company to assist us in investigating the cases," the mayor said.

Moyaba, 30, and Mgebisa, 44, were arrested two weeks ago with Mafiri, 53, his businessman friend Abdul Muneer Essa, 53, Esrom Chauke, 32, an independent consultant, and contractors Percy Aphane, 35, and Wilson Maswanganyi, 49.

This follows an intensive investigation by the Pretoria-based specialised commercial crimes investigation unit (SCCU).

They are all out on bail and their case has been postponed to October 25.

The SCCU had uncovered a scam involving the group in which the officials would allegedly pay money for companies that had won tenders into Essa's account or those of the officials' friends. The group would later share out the money, said the SCCU.

"We will leave no stone unturned in investigating and taking action against those found guilty," said Mokhabela.