PRETORIA – The Serious Corruption Investigation is currently conducting an ongoing operation where eleven (11) suspects are expected to be arrested for alleged fraud and corruption in connection with dubious land deals amounting to almost R124 million.
It is alleged that during February 2012, a complaint was made about the Msukaligwa Municipality that allegedly bought a Rietspruit farm in Ermelo worth R11 million yet sold for about R36.4 million in 2011, to develop a township whilst the municipality owned a farm that could have been utilised for the same purpose.
A multi-agency investigation which included the Specialised Investigation Unit (SIU) and the National Prosecuting Authority ensued.
Another whistle blower 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 apparently sold for R37.5 million.
All these three farms actual combined value was approximately 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.
The money was channelled through five companies. An intricate paper trail was created including applications by the municipalities, valuation report and internal correspondence in order to justify the deals. They are expected to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate Court on 28 October 2020.