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ANC's Block in tender fraud arrest

Nov 04 2010 15:09 Sapa

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Kimberley - African National Congress Northern Cape chairperson John Block was among eight people arrested by the Hawks on Thursday for alleged tender fraud related to the purchase of water purifiers and oxygen generators for the Kimberley Hospital.

The eight, believed to include a senior Kimberley Hospital manager, were implicated in a R200m corruption case that had already seen eight people arrested in KwaZulu-Natal.

The home of Block, who is also Northern Cape finance, economic development and tourism MEC, was raided by the Hawks a year ago. Several documents were seized at the time.

The investigation was linked to the awarding of multi-million-rand contracts to Intaka, a Cape Town company in which Block holds a directorship with Kimberley businessman Gaston Savoi.

Savoi's company allegedly sold equipment to the two provinces' health departments at inflated prices, and allegedly paid commissions worth millions to the officials involved.

No proper tender procedures were allegedly followed.

The KwaZulu-Natal health department had spent more than R44m on water purification plants found to be empty and in disrepair.

The Northern Cape health department had paid more than R112m for water purification plants and oxygen generators from Intaka.

Earlier this year the Hawks said KwaZulu-Natal premier Zweli Mkhize was a potential witness in the case as he had previously been the political head of the province's health department.

Indications were that officials in the Northern Cape had received more than R13m in "commissions".

The Asset Forfeiture Unit and the Hawks in August arrested eight people including KwaZulu-Natal health department head Dr Busi Nyembezi, the department's former procurement officer Mdu Ntshangase, and chief financial officer Sipho Buthelezi, as well as Savoi, a Uruguayan national, in connection with the alleged fraud.

Among the assets seized during the KwaZulu-Natal arrests was a Learjet, a Maserati, a Ferrari and the Shamwari Game Lodge in the Eastern Cape.

The accused face charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering and charges under the Public Finance Management Act.

The eight arrested in the Northern Cape on Thursday were expected to face similar charges when they appeared in court on Thursday afternoon.

anc  |  tender fraud
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