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KWAZULU-NATAL – On Thursday, 25 March 2021 six accused briefly appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court for fraud, corruption and money laundering pertaining to eleven contracts awarded by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development between 2015 and 2016.
Three accused who were employed by the department allegedly connived with the service providers to defraud the department. They allegedly compiled orders and awarded tenders to the service providers who were also well aware that no services would be rendered. Fraudulent documents and invoices were submitted as claims. As a result, the department suffered actual prejudice of approximately R3.9 million.
A case of fraud was reported at Hilton police station and the case docket was allocated to the Hawks members from Pietermaritzburg Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team who finally brought the accused to book yesterday.
The accused, Lethiwe Mbatha (46) a former employee of the department and the following service providers, Slindelo Mbhele (44), Msizi Mbense (40), Fayers Mahlangu (54), Princess Mthombeni (47) and Patrick Mthombeni (52) were all granted R10 000.00 bail. The case was postponed to 19 May 2021 and more arrests have not been ruled out pending an ongoing investigation.
The KwaZulu-Natal Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Provincial Head, Major General Leseja Senona applauded the investigating team for the arrest of the accused. “Our member presented a well investigated docket before the court to ensure that justice is served. We are determined to uproot fraud and corruption in our country,” he said.