offical out over R300 000 graft

THE Mpumalanga social development department has suspended its spin doctor after he was allegedly offered a kickback of R300000 for ensuring that a promotions company wins a tender.

Though Abie Ndlela was kicked out of the government premises last month, his suspension was kept a secret for the whole month.

Departmental head of communication Dumisani Mlangeni confirmed yesterday that Ndlela had been suspended after a R600000 payment the department made into the account of a company Ndlela has an interest in.

"It is believed that Ndlela was offered a kickback by Mabuza Investment, a company that won a contract to do the department's advertising," Mlangeni said.

"Allegations are that he was to receive R300000."

Mlangeni said Mabuza Investment was paid R600000 by the department and that the company's account had been inactive for a long time.

"The bank became suspicious when so much money was deposited into an inactive account," Mlangeni said.

"When the 'directors', led by Ndlela, wanted to withdraw half of the money on the same day it was deposited, the bank refused.

Mlangeni said Ndlela tried to explain to the bank that the transaction was legitimate.

"But the bank refused to buy Ndlela's story.

"They called the department to verify the legitimacy of the transaction," he said.

"We then asked the bank to wait for us to do a proper check."

Department officials then visited the bank, where they were shown a CCTV playback in which Ndlela was seen with other men not known to them, instructing bank officials to release the money.

The department officials asked the bank to freeze the funds, which have since been repaid to them.

Ndlela was then charged with fraud and is undergoing a disciplinary hearing.