Maverick Citizen

Maverick Citizen: State Capture

Ten in court after first spate of state capture arrests

Some of the accused consulting with their attorneys. Picture by Estelle Ellis

Nine men and a woman accused of looting millions of funds earmarked for toilets in the Amathole district have appeared in the East London High Court following their high-profile arrests in several provinces this week.

Ntsokololo Magwangqana, Nkosinathi Soga, Mpumelelo Shezi, Lulama Taleni, Ongama Mahlawe, Goodman Vimba, Bongani Mpeluza, Eddison Gaga, Helen Kwinana-Boadi and Lovemore Khativu all looked bewildered after spending a night in the police cells.

All except Soga were released on R40,000 bail. Soga’s bail was set at R10,000. 

They will appear again on 5 February when their case will be referred to the High Court for trial, state advocate Marius Stander said.

He said the state had no objection to the accused being released on bail, as long as they handed in their passports and asked for permission before travelling abroad.

Stander said three corporate entities – Blue Nightingale Trading t/a Siyenza, Siyenza Prospectors and Siyenza Eastern Cape – have also been criminally charged.

The accused all face charges of fraud and corruption and others under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

It is alleged that Siyenza was appointed the implementing agent in 2016 to build more than 60,000 toilets in the Amathole district. Payment for the R617-million project came from a Development Bank of Southern Africa grant. The tender for the project was never advertised and, according to the preliminary investigation, more than a third of the funds were transferred to the accused.

Very few of the toilets were built and many of those collapsed after a few weeks.

From early morning, the court filled with officers from the Directorate of Priority Crimes, the Hawks and well-heeled supporters of the accused.

Magistrate Annemarie Elliott postponed the matter to 5 February. DM


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