Accusations of fraud, corruption, money laundering, and racketeering going back 15 years have caught up with former Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa.
Within hours of Hlongwa and his wife, Joeline, handing themselves over to authorities on Tuesday morning they were in the dock at the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court.
The former MEC appeared alongside seven individuals and six entities, facing 258 charges ranging from fraud, corruption, money laundering and racketeering.
The state’s case stems from a Special Investigating Unit report into the awarding of tenders by the Gauteng Department of Health when Hlongwa was MEC between 2006 and 2009.
The report detailed alleged corruption in the awarding of tenders to his acquittances, among them, Richard John Payne (accused 7).
Payne and Hlongwa were business partners. They had been acquaintances since Hlongwa was a councilor with the City of Johannesburg (CoJ).
The company 3P Consulting (Pty) Ltd is (accused 10).
Payne held joint ownership and directorship in 3P Consulting together with Kingdom Lolwane (accused 6). They were contracted to do work for the CoJ.
Investigations show that 3P Consulting followed Hlongwa from its municipal business to provincial business operations, mainly in the Department of Health, where he was a political head.
Phindi Mjonondwane, National Prosecution Authority Regional Spokesperson said 3P consulting was awarded several tenders/contracts in the Gauteng Department of Health.
The tenders were for a turnaround strategy, the preparation and compilation of the Gauteng DoH 2007/2008 budget, the Project Management Unit (PMU), and the extension of the PMU contract.
At the time when the tender/contracts were awarded to 3P Consulting, Sybil Ngcobo (accused 2) was the Head of Department, and Obakeng Stephen Mookeletsi (accused 1) was the Deputy Director General: Executive Support Programme Management.
Valdis Ntsieni Ramaano (accused 3) was the Chief Director: Supply Chain Management and Abdul Kalam Mohammed Mahmudur Rahman (accused 4) was the special advisor to the MEC.
“The PMU which was initially awarded a tender for a two-year term at a total value of R68 000 000.00 ended up being extended for a further period of three years with a contract value of R273 366 500,” explained Mjonondwane.
“The department of health paid a total amount of R347 678 325.08 for the PMU tender/contract before the expiration of the five-year term.”
Allegations are that 3P Consulting (Pty) Ltd unlawfully charged the Gauteng Department of Health an extra surcharge of 5% administrative fee on every invoice submitted to the PMU.
The administrative fee was not part of the bid included in the service level agreement, alleges the state.
The state further alleges that the accused persons benefitted through travel expenses, home purchases, home refurbishments, goods and services paid for by entities listed as accused 10 to 16 of the indictment.
Some of those entities were service providers to the department of health.
“All accused were released on bail ranging from R20 000 to R50 000 each with conditions,” said Mjonondwane.
The conditions include handing over their travelling documents and they should not leave South Africa without permission from the investigating officer.
The case was remanded to 22 April next year to secure the attendance of Pillay and his company.