- An intense operation is seeking to recover around R700 million looted from the Department of Water and Sanitation
- Multi-disciplinary raids by unitsof the Hawks are taking place in KwaZulu-Natal
- The funding was allegedly illegally obtained through tender fraud and corruption
The Hawks have swooped in on those involved in the looting of R700 million from the Durban Department of Water and Sanitation.
Eighteen properties belonging to employees and service providers were hit by a multi-disciplinary raid on Tuesday, seeking to recover the stolen funds.
Reports indicate that six luxury vehicles, including brands like Porsche, BMW and Range Rover, had been seized from the home of a service provider.
IOL spoke to a source close to the investigation who revealed that junior staff members were able to live like 'multi-millionaires', claiming that the situation has been ongoing for over a decade with no action taken to put an end to the corruption.
The source described a 'well-orchestrated criminal enterprise' operating within the department of the eThekweni Municipality.
The report indicated that in some instances invoices were paid despite no work being done and even a few cases where no authorising signature was to be found. Payments were made without any checks.
The raids were carried out following a collaborative investigation carried out by the National Clean Audit Task Team, the National Prosecution Authority, the Asset Forfeiture Unite and numerous other agencies.
This is hardly the first time that the municipality has made headlines for questionable tenders and government activity.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that the former mayor of the region, Zandile Gumede, is facing numerous charges over her alleged involvement in tender fraud and corruption within the same department.
The Hawks and members of the Asset Forfeiture Unit had raided the homes of Zandile Gumede and her seven co-accused. The eThekwini mayor's political career had taken a nosedive following her arrest on fraud and corruption charges.
The ANC had opted to remove her from her position following her arrest relating to a R208 million solid waste tender.
Speaking to News24, the NPA's Natasha Kara says that the asset seizures related to these charges:
"This is simple a seizure of assets. We got an order from the court to seize their assets from the various accused in her corruption matter pending the outcome of the criminal charge. In so far as the state goes, we believe these are proceeds of crime."
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