OR Tambo official arrested for COVID-19 fraud

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An OR Tambo Municipal official in the Eastern Cape has been arrested in connection with the R4 million tender fraud from the COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Whippery Services Manager, Phumzile Johnson Gwadiso, was arrested this morning by the Hawks’ Serious Corruption Crime Investigation team.

She has already appeared before the Umtata Magistrate’s Court and was released on bail of R50 000.

A second suspect is out on R20 000 bail. The matter has been postponed to the 25th of January.

COVID-19 funds corruption and impact on South Africa as a brand:

Early in November, workers at the OR Tambo District Municipality embarked on a protest at the entrance of the municipal premises.

They were demanding the suspension of managers and officials who are allegedly implicated in the report on the mismanagement of COVID-19 funds.

The municipality hired accounting consultants to probe the allegations.

The investigators found that the supply chain management at the institution is corrupt with certain managers and officials implicated in the report.

“There are employees who are alleged to have committed fraud within the institution and we’re talking of billions of rand from the public purse but who are still within the municipal premises. Even though the council has taken several resolutions to suspend them but the executive mayor is deliberately defying the council to suspend these people and they are still here, they are still working and they’re continuously signing more documents regarding monies of this municipality,” one of the protesting workers told SABC News.

“We’re therefore saying as the principle when someone has committed fraud in this institution, he becomes suspended with immediate effect and an investigation continues while the person is outside the premises,” added the worker, Babalwa Nkosiyane.