Fraud, forgery and money-laundering have landed two tenderpreneurs and a municipal official from Welkom behind bars.
The trio was linked to the unfinished dam which was supposed to be built in Odendaalsrus in 2017.
Veronica Xamesi, Tubatsi Masia and Thapelo Kgomo, with two companies, Ukunda Professional Consultants and Kgotha Contractors, whose directors are Masia and Kgomo, respectively, are facing a total of 12 charges including fraud, forgery and money -aundering.
The trio, aged between 46 and 49, appeared before the Welkom magistrate’s court on Thursday and were released on R15 000 bail each.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Matihabeng municipality awarded a contract of R13-million to Kgotha Contractors, owned by Kgomo, for a period of eight months to build a dam that will direct water to another dam to avoid flooding nearby houses when it is raining. The contract was awarded in 2017.
NPA spokesperson Phaladi Shuping said between 2017 and 2019, the municipality approved two variation orders to the amount of over R3-million to the initial contract, effectively increasing the contract value to more than R17-million.
“Xamesi, who was a project manager, compiled three completion certificates to the value of R7.2-million between June and August 2017 for services rendered, and submitted them for approval of payment by municipality to Kgotha Contractors,” said Shuping.
Masia, who was a director of Ukunda Professional, a company rendering consultancy services to the municipality, confirmed that the work had been done and the municipality can process the payments to Kgotha Contractors.
“The municipality paid Kgotha Contractors R7.2-million at the advice of Xamesi and Masia, without any work being done.”
The auditor-general found out that R7.2-million had already been paid out for the dam that was never built, and instructed the municipality not to make further payments.
All the suspects are out on bail and the case was postponed to August 31 for disclosure of the docket.