‘Prince’ de­nies role in ten­der fraud

Post - - NEWS - BON­GANI HANS

PHI­LAN­THROPIST and busi­ness­man Ish­war Ram­lutch­man, who un­veiled a num­ber of peace pil­lars in KwaZu­lu­Na­tal, has de­nied be­ing in­volved in fraud and cor­rup­tion in a R95 mil­lion bore­hole ten­der.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Hawks is look­ing into con­tracts awarded to Ram­lutch­man re­lated to a drought-re­lief ten­der from the Umziny­athi Mu­nic­i­pal­ity in north­ern KZN.

This was to in­stall bore­holes to pro­vide wa­ter to the drought-stricken ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties of En­du­meni, Nquthu, Msinga and Umvoti mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

How­ever, it is al­leged that the money dis­ap­peared with­out be­ing used for the in­tended pro­ject.

Ram­lutch­man has de­nied hav­ing been in­volved in fraud and cor­rup­tion, while con­firm­ing get­ting a ten­der to drill bore­holes “through a con­sul­tant”.

“The work was done. At this stage it is all ac­cu­sa­tions,” he said.

He added he was sur­prised to hear that the Hawks were in­ves­ti­gat­ing him as they have not con­tacted him.

Hawks pro­vin­cial spokesper­son Cap­tain Sim­phiwe Mh­longo said the case against Ram­lutch­man was reg­is­tered with the po­lice last year.

District mayor Mthandeni Ngubane said he could not elab­o­rate on Ram­lutch­man’s ten­der as it was the sub­ject of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion. “A com­pany was hired to ver­ify if the bore­holes are op­er­a­tional. Some are them are op­er­at­ing while oth­ers need to be re­paired,” he said.

He said the Gift of the Givers was busy re­pair­ing the bore­holes in the area.

“We have started an ini­tia­tive to re­pair bore­holes us­ing money from the Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion.

“The R95m was the cost of the ten­der to in­stall bore­holes and re­pair the bro­ken ones. I have a re­port, which is sub­ject to cor­rec­tion, that states that there was a foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tion and there was ver­i­fi­ca­tion of the bore­holes con­ducted by a com­pany that was hired by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“The com­pany came back with a re­port that says the bore­holes are there,” said Ngubane.

Mean­while, King Good­will Zwelithini has dis­tanced him­self from the probe. His spokesper­son, Prince Mbuyiseni Zulu, said that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion against Ram­lutch­man had noth­ing to do with the king and the royal fam­ily.

“There are many peo­ple who are close to the king, but their per­sonal is­sues have noth­ing to do with the king,” said Zulu.

Ram­lutch­man was given the hon­our of be­ing made a “prince” by the king last year, a cer­e­mo­nial ges­ture of ac­cept­ing him into the Zulu cul­ture to thank him for his role in ex­tend­ing a hand to other cul­tures and for his anti-racism stance.

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Ish­war Ram­lutch­man

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