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Arrest warrant for Cape Town attorney allegedly involved in municipal corruption not executed

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said besides the forensic investigation, the City’s internal audit also identified control gaps in the management of billing for the repairs and maintenance contract. File Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said besides the forensic investigation, the City’s internal audit also identified control gaps in the management of billing for the repairs and maintenance contract. File Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency

Published Jan 5, 2022

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Cape Town - A fourth suspect, a city attorney allegedly involved in municipal corruption in the City through alleged fraudulent over-billing for repairs and maintenance by a subcontractor, is yet to be arrested, despite a warrant for him.

Anti-crime activist Hanif Loonat, who had lodged a complaint of corruption with the police in August 2020, said he was unhappy and claimed that the arrest warrant had been rescinded.

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Loonat alleged foul play by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

“I am disturbed that the court found justification and a case for the alleged perpetrators to be arrested, and now it seems as if favours are being offered to the fourth suspect,” Loonat said.

The NPA was contacted several times but failed to respond to Loonat’s allegations. On Monday, NPA Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said he would forward the information provided to the prosecutors. Ntabazalila was again approached yesterday, but failed to respond.

Three suspects already appeared in court in connection with tender fraud worth about R600 million. They are Asif Khan, director of the Construction Co, former police officer Paul Scheepers, and the City’s Special Investigating Unit head, Reynold Talmakkies.

Their court appearance followed investigations by the Hawks into the alleged fraud within the City’s housing directorate.

Last month, the City said its forensic investigation unit had completed a report into the alleged corruption and that the report was in the review phase. Once this process had been completed, the report would assist the Hawks with its ongoing investigation.

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About an update on the matter, the City said: “The report is currently in the review phase and will be handed over to the Hawks when this process has been completed.

“The City has a zero-tolerance approach to corruption. Those found guilty of corruption or malfeasance will face the full force of the law.

“Revised and improved processes will be implemented to boost control measures. These internal control measures will also be under continuous review.”

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#SA1stForum convener advocate Rod Solomons said it was encouraging to see that arrests were made.

“How the City handles this matter will give a practical indication as to how serious the new mayor and his administration are about tackling corruption.”

African Christian Democratic Party caucus leader Marvin Christians said: “In August 2021, a Corruption Watch report titled South Africa Needs Clean Hands was released.

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“In this report, the City of Cape Town ranked fifth among the country’s municipalities with the highest number of reported corruption allegations.

“Since then, we have seen little to nothing being done about this especially regarding irregularities in procurement processes which contributes 17% towards the above mentioned report,” Christians said.

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