Deputy police commissioner in court on fraud charges over R191m tender
Deputy police commissioner Bonang Mgwenya has been granted R20,000 bail after being arrested in connection with a 2017 multimillion-rand tender contract.
Mgwenya appeared in the Palm Ridge magistrate's court yesterday and was charged with corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering.
Mgwenya will join former high-ranking police officials including former acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane, former Gauteng police commissioner Deliwe de Lange and Gauteng deputy police commissioner Maj-Gen Brig Nombhuruza Lettie Napo on November 16.
According to her affidavit which was read out in court, the 56-year-old was arrested on Monday morning after returning from her regular jog. Her house was searched and her vehicle, a BMW X5, was confiscated by investigators.
In her affidavit Mgwenya said she could afford to pay bail of R5,000 but it was discovered that an unknown individual had approached the state and informed it they would loan Mgwenya R20,000 for bail purposes.
Mgwenya’s charges are in relation to her role in ensuring the contract to supply emergency warning equipment for the South African Police Service (SAPS) in 2017 went to Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement (Pty) Ltd while she enjoyed an undisclosed close relationship with the company’s owner, Vimpie Manthata.
According to the charge sheet, Manthata assisted Mgwenya with purchasing a BMW X5 from Zambesi Auto Motors by paying R440,000 towards the purchase price and negotiating a discount of R284,580 for her with Zambezi Auto. These benefits put Mgwenya in a position to apply for a loan of R255,990 to finance the purchase of the BMW X5 for R1,040,570. Mgwenya failed to disclose these benefits to her employer.
Independent Directorate spokesperson Sindiswa Twala, said her arrest relates to the supply of emergency warning equipment for the SAPS in 2017. The contract price and exposure to the police fiscus was R191m. However, R65m was paid to the service provider, Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement. The payment of R22m was stopped at an advanced stage of the Investigating Directorate’s probe into the matter.
The other accused in the matter include Lt-Gen Ramahlapi Johannes Mokwena (retired divisional commissioner), Brig James Ramanjalum, and Maj-Gen Ravichandran Pillay, Thomas Dumas Marima (colonel), Maetapese Joseph Mulaiwa (sargeant). The civilians are Judy Rose, Samantha Andrews and Manthata.
The accused face charges of fraud, theft and obstructing or defeating the course of justice. These charges relate to a R191m rand tender to Manthatha’s company, Instrumentation for Traffic law enforcement Pty Ltd, for the installation of emergency warning lights on police cars between March 1 2016 and March 31 2017.