Officials, businessman in court

Kathryn Kimberley

TWO high-ranking Eastern Cape municipal officials and a business owner were nabbed yesterday for alleged tender fraud involving the excavation of a new cemetery plot.

After a brief appearance in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court, Koukamma municipal manager Sabelo Nkuhlu, 42, Koukamma community services director Thomazile Sompani, 56, and business owner John Busakwe, 51, were each released on R1000 bail.

It is alleged that Nkuhlu and Sompani gained financially by awarding a R100000 tender to Busakwe, the owner of Sinlaw Amandla & Construction, in February 2011.

The tender was for the removal of rubbish, planting of grass on a sports field, excavation of a new cemetery plot, cleaning of storm water drains and removal of alien vegetation as part of the neighbourhood revitalisation project in Storms River West, in the jurisdiction of the municipality.

It is alleged that the correct procedure was not followed in awarding the tender to Busakwe, on behalf of Sinlaw Amandla & Construction. Although Busakwe received the R100000, the state alleges that the work was never carried out.

Further details have not yet been brought to light.

The three accused were arrested yesterday morning. The state indicated that bail would not be opposed.

The three were released from custody but warned not to interfere with the witnesses, most of whom work in the municipality and report to Nkuhlu and Sompani.

The matter was postponed to August 23 for further investigation.

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