The Hawks have revealed that a senior government official is among 11 suspects expected to be arrested on a number of fraud and corruption charges linked to dubious land deals amounting to almost R124 million.
Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase on Tuesday said during February 2012 a complaint was made about the Msukaligwa municipality that allegedly bought a Rietspruit farm in Ermelo worth R11m – yet sold it for about R36.4m in 2011.
He said the plan was to develop a township while the municipality-owned a farm that could have been utilised for the same purpose.
Nkwalase said a multi-agency investigation that included the Specialised Investigation Unit (SIU) and the National Prosecuting Authority ensued.
He said “Another whistle-blower alerted the investigators to two other deals involving two farms, a 70ha Malelane farm worth R44m that was allegedly sold to the municipality for R50m in 2011 and a 74.2ha Naauwpoort in Emalahleni worth R16m apparently sold for R37.5m.
“The three farms’ combined value was about R70 million but through alleged collusion by the arrested suspects the Mpumalanga of Human Settlements Department suffered a total loss of just under R124m”.
He said the money was channelled through five companies.
An intricate paper trail was created, including applications by the municipalities, a valuation report and internal correspondence, in order to justify the deals.
They are expected to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on October 28.