From left: Kubeshin Pillay, Soundrarajan Pillay and Zanemvula Ngovela appeared in the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Tuesday. | Hawks
From left: Kubeshin Pillay, Soundrarajan Pillay and Zanemvula Ngovela appeared in the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Tuesday. | Hawks

Suspects linked to the Mnquma Municipality R18m road construction tender scandal in court

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Nov 30, 2021

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CAPE TOWN: Three men linked to the Mnquma Municipality in the Eastern Cape appeared in the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court on fraud charges.

Zanemvula Ngovela, 54, former director for Infrastructure at Mnquma Municipality; Kubeshin Pillay, 42, and Soundrarajan Pillay, 60, sole directors of companies with their business entities, are charged with fraud and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA).

Provincial spokesperson for the Hawks Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said the trio were arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation’s (Hawks) Serious Corruption Investigation team based in East London on Tuesday.

“During the 2011 financial year, Mnquma Municipality planned, funded and managed road projects,” said Mgolodela.

“The Infrastructure directorate initiated the tender process for the construction and revitalisation of Butterworth Township Roads, which was awarded to Siva Pillay Constructions, which was a joint venture of two merged companies, Pillay Constructions and Brainwave Projects, that appeared in court today.

“The sole directors to the merged companies allegedly submitted falsified tax certificates and also fraudulent Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) certificates testifying on projects never done, thus purporting themselves to be competent for the job to be performed.

“In executing the aforementioned tender, the municipality had to confine itself within the Legislative Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act,” Mgolodela said.

Municipal manager at the time Ngamela Pakade, who is already facing similar charges, allegedly allowed the process to go through without ensuring the aforesaid relevant policy had been complied with.

Mgolodela said the investigation revealed the municipality had budgeted R18 million, but under their watch the expenditure went up to R36m, thus doubling the budget amount.

She said the municipal office ran at a loss of R18m.

“A complaint was thus lodged with the Hawks for investigation, which resulted in the arrest of Pakade, the current King Sabatha Dalindyebo (KSD) municipal manager, on November 5, 2021.

“He made a short appearance in Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court and was released on a R20 000 bail,” Mgolodela said.

The trio joined Pakade in the dock on Tuesday and were each granted bail of R10 000.

The case has been postponed to January 18, 2022.

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