South Africa: EC Municipal Official Arrested for R4.8 Million Covid-19 Irregularities

27 November 2020

The Hawks have pounced on an OR Tambo Municipality official in connection with the COVID-19 Relief Fund tender fraud worth over R4.8 million.

Whippery Services Manager, Phumzile Johnson Gwadiso, 48, was on Friday morning arrested by the Hawks' Serious Corruption Crime Investigation team for her role in the alleged crime. She later appeared before the Umtata Magistrates Court, where she was released on R50 000 bail.

In a statement, the Hawks said Gwadiso's arrest was preceded by that of Pumza Poshee Gambula, director of Phathilizwi Training Institute, who was arrested on 22 October 2020.

The Hawks investigation, conducted in partnership with the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), revealed that Gambula submitted fraudulent documents to various municipalities, purporting that she conducted door-to-door awareness campaigns for the prevention and containment of COVID-19 pandemic in the rural communities of Port St Johns Local, King Sabatha Dalindyebo and Mhlonto local municipalities.

"Further investigation has revealed that the arrested municipal manager worked in cahoots with Gambula. He allegedly signed-off invoices for payments confirming that the campaign took place. This enabled the payments to be processed to the supplier," the Hawks said in a statement.

Gwadiso was subsequently granted R50 000 bail, and the matter postponed to 25 January 2021.

Meanwhile, Gambula, who is on R20 000 bail, is also expected back in court on the same date.

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