Government officials including the Executive Mayor of the Amathole District Municipality in the Eastern Cape Nomasikizi Khonza were arrested by the Hawks for Siphoning Over R2.5 million public’s funds.
They were charged with fraud and corruption, and appeared at the East London Magistrate’s Court.
BuzzSouthAfrica learnt that the Mayor and Nanziwe Rulashe – the chairperson of the Municipal Public Account Committee at the same municipality – and also, the Councillor of Nkonkobe Local Municipality, fraudulently authorized over R2.5 million to themselves under the guise that they were donating the money to support the annual Miss Amathole Heritage.
They however, together with two officials (Sigcinile Mabixane and Mawande Njeza) pocketed the public funds.
As related, the suspects documented that the money would cover the costs for accommodation, gala dinner, marketing, venue hire and other logistics. But paid it in two installments into separate bank accounts, one of which had Nanziwe Rulashe as a signatory.
“The former Chief Executive Officer of the Amathole Economic Development Agency (ASPIRE) Ms Ntombokuqala Nokulunga Mnqetha (47) connived with a legal firm, Dyushu Majebe Attorneys, and settled her private legal bill amounting to R310 000 using ASPIRE’s funds.
The Acting CEO of ASPIRE Mr Thabo Shenxane (41) was also arrested for submitting an altered Counsel Resolution which authorized the payment, while Ms Sandra Weppelman (46), the Chief Financial Officer of ASPIRE is also in the dock for authorizing the payment without following procurement procedures. The secretary of Dyushu Majebe Attorneys Ms Zamela Kiviet (39) was also arrested on the basis that the company she represents benefited from the proceeds of crime.”
Confirming this, the National Head of the Hawks Lieutenant General Mthandazo Ntlemeza warned that corrupt public servants can no longer rob needy residents of service delivery, misuse public’s funds and live unpunished.
“Municipalities are entrusted with the delivery of services to the people but that mandate is being manipulated by greedy individuals who are looking for short-cuts to riches,” Ntlemeza commented.
“What happened to Amathole District Municipality is just the beginning. We have intensified our efforts to rid all municipalities, government departments and all public and private institutions of all corruption and fraudulent activities.
Our people deserve better and the Hawks is here to bring hope to them,” Ntlemeza vowed.
All the suspects were granted bail and will be in the dock again on 8 July 2016.