South Africa

R5000 bail for ex-Ratlou acting municipal manager in R7.8m fraud case

Rustenburg - The former acting municipal manager of Ratlou Local Municipality in the North West province, Cassius Sejake, was granted bail of R5 000 on Friday.

Sejake was arrested on Monday for alleged tender fraud amounting to R7.8 million.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson in the North West, Henry Mamothame, said Sejake, 55, was granted bail at the Atamelang Magistrate's Court.

He was arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigation (Hawks) for allegedly flouting tender processes to the value of R7.8 million between 2018 and 2019 in his capacity as acting municipal manager.

He was ordered that while out on bail he was not to be in contact with the state witnesses at the Ratlou Local Municipality, where he is still employed.

His case was postponed to November 27 and transferred to the Atamelang Regional Court.

In a related matter, the mayor of JB Marks municipality Kgotso Khumalo and the director of municipal services and local economic development Cyril Hendry appeared in the Potchefstroom Magistrate's Court on charges of theft and fraud on Friday.

Mamothame said a third person was expected to hand himself over to the police on Monday.

He said Khumalo, Hendry and the third man were facing eight charges of theft and fraud involving municipal funds.

"It is alleged that the North West University and the Programme for Community Development paid about R5 million into a trust account of an attorney for the use of specific projects by the municipality.

"The attorney was then given instructions to effect various payments, which includes a R208,000 mayoral committee contribution towards the funeral of the late MEC for Agriculture Duma Ndleleni, who passed away on 23 November 2018," he said.

It was later discovered that R200 000 was allegedly paid directly into the account of one of the accused. From this amount R64, 18 was allegedly paid to an institution where Khumalo’s relative was a student.

"It is alleged that false invoices were generated to effect more fictitious payments. Further to this act of criminality, Khumalo allegedly instructed the attorney to make payment to an NGO which did not exist."

The two were released on warning and ordered not to contact state witnesses or enter the municipality offices until their next court appearance.

Hendry previously served as the acting municipal manager in JB Marks.

The Hawks said the arrest of the two stemmed from investigations that were conducted by its Serious Commercial Crime Investigation unit into a trust account where a total of approximately R5 million intended for the JB Marks municipality was deposited.

"The funds, however, were never declared to the auditor-general," spokesperson Captain Tlangelani Rikhotso said.

"Through investigations it was discovered that a series of payments were allegedly made from the trust into the suspects' private bank accounts instead.

"It is alleged that the funds in the trust were misrepresented to appear as if they were being used to pay for services rendered to the municipality. Meanwhile, invoices were allegedly being falsified."

The case against Khumalo and Hendry was postponed to December 1 for investigation.

Rikhotso said the investigations were ongoing and more arrests could not be ruled out.

African News Agency (ANA)

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