Officials in KZN premier's office appear in court for corruption to tune of R20m


Five accused linked to tender fraud and corruption in the KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Premier appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday, facing charges of fraud and corruption, the Hawks said.

Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo said according to allegations, officials in the office of the premier connived with service providers to secure catering tenders disregarding all supply chain procedures and the officials allegedly received gratification for their efforts.

"These allegations were reported to the Durban Serious Corruption Investigation who through a prosecution guided investigation led to the arrest of the four officials and one service provider. The total value of the contracts under investigation is more than R20 million," Mhlongo said.

He said Chief Financial Officer Ziphathe Mboneni Cibane, 55, was granted R10,000 bail, while Personal Assistant Nomusa Zakwe, 35, administration clerk Njabulo Makhathini, 34, and senior administration clerk Sithembiso Msomi, 53, were granted R5,000 bail each.

Mhlongo said a director in Phumalanga Communications Close Corporation, Gugu Kheswa, 51, was granted R20,000 bail.

He said the case was postponed to 2 October and that more arrests are expected.

National head of the Hawks, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya, has welcomed the arrest of the suspects.

"As we indicated before, all those who contributed in looting the government and municipalities shall be brought to justice," said Lebeya.

In a statement on Thursday, the office of the premier said it respects the rule of law and will allow the law to take its course.

"We wish to state that the office of the premier had already placed some of these officials on precautionary suspension pending the conclusion of the internal disciplinary processes.

"Now that the matter is in the hands of the criminal justice system, we are duty-bound to allow the process to unfold.

"We, however, wish to reiterate our position that as government we are committed to good and clean governance.

"We are fully committed to running a corruption-free government and will, therefore, deal with all types of fraud and corruption whenever these raise their ugly heads.

"This includes implementing consequence management and working closely with law enforcement agencies," the statement reads.

The office said it is committed to fighting corruption and that "the abuse of the public trust" should not be permitted "and wherever such occurs it must be addressed as soon possible".

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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