A senior government official is among 11 suspects fingered in alleged corruption who was expected to be arrested by the Hawks in Mpumalanga on Tuesday.
It was reported a warrant of arrest was issued for ANC member of parliament Bongani Bongo on Tuesday.
Bongo is the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on home affairs and has served in the Mpumalanga provincial government.
Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase said the Hawks’ serious corruption investigation unit was conducting an ongoing operation where 11 suspects were expected to be arrested for fraud and corruption in connection with dubious land deals amounting to almost R124 million.
“During February 2012 a complaint was made about the Msukaligwa municipality that allegedly bought a Rietspruit farm in Ermelo for R36.m million in 2011 that was worth R11 million. This was meant to develop a township while the municipality already owned a farm that could have been utilised for the same purpose,” Nkwalase said.
“A multi-agency investigation which included the Specialised Investigation Unit (SIU) and the National Prosecuting Authority ensued.
“Another whistle-blower alerted the investigators to two other deals involving farms, a 70-hectare Malelane farm worth R44 million that was allegedly sold to the municipality for R50 million in 2011 and a 74.2-hectare Naauwpoort in Emalahleni worth R16 million apparently bought for R37.5 million.
“All these three farms’ actual combined value was approximately R70 million but through alleged collusion by the arrested suspects the Mpumalanga human settlements department spent a total of just under R124 million.
“The money was channeled through five companies. An intricate paper trail was created, including applications by the municipalities, valuation reports and internal correspondence in order to justify the deals. They are expected to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on 28 October 2020.”
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)