Hawks investigate fake letter produced by Sisulu adviser
The Hawks are investigating how human settlements, water and sanitation minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s adviser, Mphumzi Mdekazi, obtained an apparently fake letter, complete with a Hawks letterhead and “clerk of the court” stamp, that cleared him from being the subject of any investigations by the unit.
This is after a case was opened in East London last month by suspended CEO of Amatola Water Vuyo Zitumane.
A week after the case was opened, Mdekazi sent SowetanLIVE sister publication DispatchLIVE a copy of a letter addressed to Sisulu by a Col AB Ledwaba, saying Mdekazi would not be investigated. This Ledwaba signed the letter as the “Head Priority Crime Investigation Unit”. The same letter led to other media reports that Mdekazi had been cleared.
But Hawks national spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi has now told the DispatchLIVE that the letter is fake.
“That is a fake letter. The DPCI does not have a Lieutenant-Colonel or Colonel Ledwaba within its ranks. The DPCI also wishes to condemn the bogus letter with the strongest contempt,” said Mulaudzi.
He said: “An investigation is currently under way to find the source of the fake letters and necessary action will be taken against the perpetrators. It is hoped that no-one was duped into paying money to the author of this fictitious letter.”
The fake letter states that Mdekazi has been cleared of any wrongdoing after apparently being investigated in connection with allegations of fraud, corruption, tender irregularities and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.
“The alleged proof in the report claimed evidence was circumstantial and insufficient to proceed with prosecution and that a supposed audit report did not implicate Mdekazi directly as due process was followed for bidding and awarding of all the tenders,” said Mulaudzi.
When asked by DispatchLIVE about this fake letter, Mdekazi produced a statement signed by Yonela Diko, the spokesperson for the department, saying minister Sisulu had noted the statement by the Hawks on the outcomes of the investigation into her adviser, Mdekazi.
“The department has compiled affidavits of the various engagements between the department officials and the directorate with regards to the matter. Such affidavits confirm communications from the directorate which exonerated the adviser of all allegations labelled against him and at this stage that remains the view of the department,” the statement says. Diko confirmed the authenticity of the statement.
Meanwhile, Mulaudzi has declined to say if the Hawks are in fact actively investigating Mdekazi.
“There is an allegation of corruption that we are looking at in the Eastern Cape and it is not attached to any individual since it’s still at an early stage,” he said.
Zitumane, who has been suspended, has made an affidavit in which she alleges Mdekazi is linked to corruption in the department of human settlements, water and sanitation and the water boards.
She claims that she was harassed by Mdekazi so that he could “advance (his) corruption interests” in a multimillion-rand sand abstraction project but has provided no details as to how Mdekazi could have personally benefited from the project.
In the affidavit, dated April 23 and submitted to the police’s East London commercial crimes unit, Zitumane describes talks she had with Mdekazi in August.
She alleges that Mdekazi told her the Eastern Cape should support Sisulu as the next presidential candidate “as he failed the last time and such campaign has put him into serious debts”.
Zitumane says that in October Mdekazi told her about a sand abstraction pilot project that Lepelle Northern Water CEO Phineas Legodi was “dragging his feet” on.
She says Mdekazi told her he had advised Sisulu that Legodi should be dismissed because of this.
She says that after she expressed interest in the project for its potential to alleviate the drought in the Eastern Cape, Mdekazi told her he could source the funds from the department of human settlements, water & sanitation, but Amatola Water would need to make a proposal.