Details of how two friends allegedly siphoned millions of rands from Nelson Mandela Bay’s troubled bus system emerged yesterday when the Hawks swooped on former EP Rugby president Cheeky Watson, a taxi boss, a former municipal official and an events company director.
The breakthrough arrests follow a lengthy probe into alleged corrupt activities around the R208-million meant for the city’s Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS).
Watson, 62, together with a former assistant director in the metro’s finance department, Nadia Gerwel, 51, Zeranza director Andrea Wessels, 40, and a former director of Laphumilanga Transport Services, Mandisi Mkasa, 55, handed themselves over at the Mount Road police station at 7am yesterday.
From there they appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court, where they were each released on R2 000 bail. They face charges of fraud and money laundering, with Wessels facing an additional charge of forgery.
Then chief executive of Access Facilities and Leisure Management, Stephan Pretorius, is cited on the charge sheet as a further accused.
Referring to him only as “accused number four”, state advocate Tjaart van Zyl said in court Pretorius was aware of the criminal matter, but was living in Hermanus and could not be in court at such short notice.
The accused and their defence attorney, Danie Gouws, were notified of their imminent arrests on Thursday night. An agreement was then reached for them to hand themselves over to the police yesterday morning.
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