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A service provider, Thumeka Qongqo (44) has been sentenced to ten years imprisonment for theft and money laundering through her entity, Ogiyonke Construction Company by the Mthatha High Court on Monday.

Thumeka was convicted on 20 May 2021, following a marathon trial after it emerged that during 2014 she defrauded the OR Tambo District Municipality of approximately R 4.5 million through two payments authorised by her sister, Nyameka Qongqo for services that were never rendered.

The Hawks’ Serious Corruption Investigation started in September 2014, resulting in her being charged on 15 August 2015 along with her sister, Nyameka Qongqo who was the municipal project accountant. The investigation revealed that from November 2012 to 2014, Nyameka Qongqo authorised claims and transferred funds to service providers bank accounts which included Zingce Enterprise owned by her boyfriend, Thobani Notshokovu and Ogiyonke Construction Company. During the trial that lasted about 15 days Thumeka elected to plead innocent and was consequently convicted. Nyameka on the other hand entered into a plea bargain with the state and received a fifteen year effective jail term. Notshokovu turned state witness and was sentenced to ten years imprisonment with an option of a R50 000 fine.

The high court sitting in Mthatha has ordered that Thumeka Qongqo undergo ten (10) years direct imprisonment half of which is suspended for 5 years on condition that she is not convicted of similar charges during the period of suspension which closes the chapter on this case.