Luxury vehicle of EC supply chain chief director probed

Friday, September 30, 2022

The East London Division of the High Court has granted the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit an order to preserve the luxury vehicle of the Eastern Cape Department of Education’s supply chain Chief Director.

This after an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found that Marius Harmse allegedly indirectly received a payment of more than R300 000 from a supplier for the vehicle’s purchase.

SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the payment was made by Sigqibo Makupula, the director of Kups Trading, after Harmse signed off on a R4 million Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) tender for the department.

“The SIU probe showed that Harmse was the beneficiary of a sum of R328 000, which was paid to Ronnies Motors, East London. This was done to conceal the benefit accrued as a deposit for the purchase of the car, which was ordered by Makupula, which purchase deal Makapula subsequently cancelled.

“The said amount, together with the sum of R305 000 was paid by Harmse, giving a total of R633 000 to Ronnies Motors as a deposit for the purchase of the motor vehicle which was ordered by Makupula. However, after the cancellation of the deal, the said motor vehicle accumulated a penalty of R60 000, which was levied by Ronnies Motors.

“Makupula was subsequently reimbursed a sum of R573 000. This is where the layering of the proceeds of crime took place. It is on this basis that Harmse knowingly acquired; used or attained possession of the property and or ought reasonably to have known that it is or forms part of the proceeds of unlawful activities of another person,” he said.

Kganyago explained that the investigation into the tender came as a result of government’s action to crack down on PPE tender corruption.

“The SIU investigation comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed Proclamation R.23 of 2020, which authorised the SIU to investigate all Covid-19-related contracts in all State institutions in respect of the procurement or contracting for goods, works and services, during, or in respect of the National State of Disaster, by or on behalf of State institutions.

“In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, evidence pointing to criminal conduct is referred to the National Prosecuting Authority for further action,” he said. –