Hawks pounce on eThekwini officials, service providers' homes

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Hawks on Tuesday conducted a simultaneous search and seizure operation at 15 Durban premises belonging to various officials from the eThekwini Municipality’s Water and Sanitation Unit, as their fraud, corruption and money laundering investigation advances.

Some of the properties searched belong to service providers implicated in the probe.  

This comes after the National Clean Audit Task Team of the Hawks in June 2020 discovered that R200 million was allegedly siphoned from the municipality. It has now also been determined that a further R500 million has been embezzled from the department.

“It is alleged that R700 million is proceeds of crime derived from service providers who were supposed to be rendering services for the Water and Sanitation Unit and claimed to have provided such services while they were not carried out,” the Hawks said in a statement.

It is alleged that misrepresentations were made to the municipality and in some instances, no authorised signatures, as per the requirements for approval, were endorsed on the invoices.  

Despite the alleged falsification of documents, said the Hawks, payments were approved and significant amounts of monies were allegedly channelled to officials for their own benefit.

During the operation - which also included the Hawks Digital Forensic Laboratory, Priority Crime Specialised Investigation, SAPS Crime Scene Management and the National Intervention Unit - various items, including a number of laptops, desktops, hard drives, cell phones, bank cards from different banks, company details, invoices and company registration documents, were seized for analysis.   

No arrests have been made as yet, as investigations are still continuing. – SAnews.gov.za


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