MPUMALANGA – 11 suspects are expected to be arrested for the alleged fraud and corruption in connection with dubious land deals amounting to almost R124 million in Msukalikwa Local Municipality.
According to the Hawks, it is alleged that during February 2012 a complaint was made about the municipality that allegedly bought a Rietspruit farm in Ermelo worth R11 million. However, it was sold for about R36.4 million in 2011 to develop a township while the municipality-owned a land that could have been utilised for the same purpose.
A multi-agency team that included Specialised Investigation Unit (SIU) and the National Prosecuting Authority investigated the case.
“Another whistleblower alerted the investigators to two other deals involving two farms, a 70-hectare Malelane farm worth R44 million that was allegedly sold to the municipality at R50 million in 2011 and a 74.2-hectare Naauwpoort in Emalahleni worth R16 million sold for R37.5 million. All these three farms have a combined value of about R70 million but through alleged collusion by the arrested suspects, the Mpumalanga of Human Settlements Department suffered a total loss of just under R124. million,” read the Hawks statement.
The money was channelled through five companies. An intricate paper trail was created including applications by the municipalities, valuation report and internal correspondence to justify the deals. They are expected to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate Court on October 28.