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Contractor sues council for fraud

A Limpopo businessman has opened a case of fraud against the Maruleng local municipality for allegedly paying a subcontractor who did not do any work.
A Limpopo businessman has opened a case of fraud against the Maruleng local municipality for allegedly paying a subcontractor who did not do any work.
Image: STOCK IMAGE

A Limpopo businessman has opened a case of fraud against the Maruleng local municipality for allegedly paying a subcontractor who did not do any work.

Hendrick Matwalane, a director at KSS investors (Pty) LTD, claims the municipality also fraudulently attached his signature on the payment form to release the funds to a sub-contractor who was never on site to do the job.

Matwalane was awarded a tender worth R4.2m to construct a road and pavement in Hlohlokwe village outside Hoedspruit in 2017, and the municipality has allegedly failed to pay him fully for the work done.

"Payments of R400,000 were fraudulently paid without my company's approval to the sub-contractor who did not do any work. My company has not been paid for the work done," he said.

The businessman claimed he was owed R1.2m by the municipality.

Matimba Maluleke, Hawks spokesperson in Limpopo, confirmed they were investigating a case of fraud but couldn't reveal further details.

In a letter seen by Sowetan, in which Matwalane disputed the termination of his contract, he accuses the municipality of illegally cancelling the contract after the squandering of funds meant for the project.

"The municipality was fully aware that the project money was finished and failed to notify the contractor about the challenge," he said.

Ward councillor in the village, Daniel Mogale, said he was told that money for the project was exhausted hence it had been halted.

"It has been months now since the project stopped. I recently learnt that the budget for the project is going to be re-adjusted," he said.

Mohale Machubeni, acting municipal manager, dismissed Matwalane's allegations.

"The contractor missed the deadline to complete the project and we terminated his contract because he didn't even apply for an extension certificate. We are looking for a new contractor to take over the project," he said.

Machubeni said he had met with Matwalane "who failed to produce evidence to back up his claims".

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