Education department official, wife arrested for alleged PPE fraud and corruption

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Education department official, wife arrested for alleged PPE fraud and corruption
Education department official, wife arrested for alleged PPE fraud and corruption

Africa-Press – South-Africa. A director of the Eastern Cape education department, his wife and a service provider appeared in court for alleged personal protective equipment (PPE) fraud, corruption and money laundering.

The Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) arrested the trio this week.

The department’s chief director of supply chain management, Marius Harmse, his wife, Elanore, and Kups Trading director, Sigqibo Makupula, were each granted R10 000 bail at the Zwelitsha Magistrate’s Court, outside King Williams Town, on Wednesday.

According to the Hawks, Harmse signed off on a R4-million PPE tender for Kups Trading on 31 August 2020.

Makupula then purchased a Mercedes-Benz V-class, valued at R850 000, with a payment of R328 000 for Harmse as an alleged kickback for the tender.

A probe by the Special Investigating Unit found that Makupula transferred R573 000 from his First National Bank account for Star Motors, King William’s Town, towards the purchase price of the vehicle for the couple.

The Hawks say Harmse paid the balance of R277 000 to Star Motors, and the vehicle was registered in Elanore Harmse’s name on 3 February 2021.

In April, Harmse approached the sales manager at Star Motors to place the same vehicle on their pre-owned stand as a consignment unit to sell.

The vehicle was sold on 10 May 2021, and the R800 000 purchase price was paid to Harmse’s Standard Bank account in the name of Trentrade 23 (Pty).

The SIU found the car was purchased in the name of Msimango, and not Harmse, which it believed was an attempt to hide the proceeds and reintroduce it as part of the financial system.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit obtained a preservation order in September to preserve the Mercedes-Benz V-class belonging to Harmse.

This investigation forms part of Proclamation R.23, signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2020.

The Proclamation authorised the SIU to investigate all Covid-19-related procurement or contracting for goods, works and services contracts in respect of the National State of Disaster by or on behalf of state institutions.

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