Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The police commercial crimes unit is investigating a case of fraud and corruption of about R50million involving senior government officials and black economic empowerment companies in KwaZulu-Natal.

It is alleged that several high-profile business leaders colluded with government officials to defraud the provincial department of social development.

Forensic investigation, led by Advocate Stix Madladla, was ordered by the department after irregularities were discovered.

The forensic audit has been handed to the police with recommendations that the people fingered should be prosecuted.

The investigation covered the period from July 2004 to October last year.

It involved the fraudulent manipulation of the procurement policies and practices of the department and affected the illegal operations of IT, catering and security companies.

The findings of Madladla's investigation show that eight fraudulent information and technology companies that were not registered with the Seta as suppliers were awarded contracts to provide equipment to the department. But no tender documents or invoices were available to support the transactions.

The investigation uncovered the profiles of the implicated companies, the people used as fronts to secure the deals, as well as their banking details.

All the vital details contained in the report as well as the names of key government officials implicated in the alleged scam were handed over to MEC Meshack Radebe, who has forwarded it to the police.

Radebe has said that the people implicated in the report also "handed in their signed affidavits".

A police source said they were collecting information to build a strong case before making any arrests.

He said all those who were implicated in the scam would be charged.

"Police want to secure convictions. The matter is very serious and we want to provide the court with overwhelming evidence."

Department spokesman Mandla Ngema said: "The document is with the police and we expect arrests very soon."

Police spokesman Director Phindile Radebe said: "The document was received and we are positive that all those fingered will be brought to book soon."