South Africa: Bushbuckridge Member of Municipal Council and Accomplices in Court for Fraud

press release

Member of Municipal Council (MMC) Mphikelele Learnard Malomane (43), and accomplices Bongani Sibuyi (27), Palesa Pertunia Maja (23), appeared before Bushbuckridge Magistrate's Court on Friday after they were arrested by the Hawks' Serious Corruption Investigation on Thursday and Friday respectively for Fraud and Theft.

It is alleged that during August 2017, Bushbuckridge Local Municipality in collaboration with Leadership 2020, invited youth for a training in leadership skills and sales. Interested youth applied and submitted their CVs and they were told to pay an administration fee of R250-00 each into an FNB account.

About 351 leaners deposited the money which amounted to over R800 000-00. Ultimate Training Programme (UTC) service provider which was not credited by SETA at the time was allegedly appointed to run the said project with Sibuyi being the Project Leader.

Successful candidates signed the learnership agreement forms and contract which stipulated that they were to receive monthly stipends of R3000-00 for a period of five months. Classes commenced around September 2017, after two months the leaners and facilitators complained that they were not receiving their monthly allowances as promised.

On the third month Sibuyi and co disappeared and left the learners stranded. Hawks' Investigation revealed that the owner of UTC was deceitfully told that the project was cancelled by the Municipality before it even started as their services were no longer going to be required.

It was further revealed that the bank account number used to deposit the administration fees by leaners in fact belonged to Umphile Thuto Consultant (UTC), an entity registered under Maja with links to Sibuyi. Investigation also established that the entire learning programme was facilitated by the MMC, Malomane as the advertisement apparently emanated from his office.

The three appeared in court on Friday and were all granted R3 000.00 bail each, the case has been postponed to the 06th of June 2019 pending further investigation.

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