Busi­ness­man de­nies ten­der fraud al­le­ga­tions

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Or­rin Singh

THE Hawks have con­firmed that in­ves­ti­ga­tions into lo­cal busi­ness­man, Ish­war Ram­lutch­man, are on­go­ing.

This after me­dia re­ports sur­faced ear­lier this month al­leg­ing that Ram­lutch­man had been in­volved in fraud re­gard­ing a R95-mil­lion ten­der which fo­cused on in­stalling bore­holes to pro­vide wa­ter to the drought-stricken ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties of En­du­meni, Nquthu, Msinga and Umvoti lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

Ram­lutch­man is be­lieved to have been awarded the ten­der through the Umziny­athi District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Dur­ing a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion with the ZO this week, Ram­lutch­man de­nied the al­le­ga­tions as ‘ground­less.’

Hawks pro­vin­cial spokesper­son Cap­tain Sim­phiwe Mh­longo, said the mat­ter was def­i­nitely still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, after ru­mours that they were drop­ping the case.

‘The case was re­ported last year and later trans­ferred to the Hawks in New­cas­tle for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion,’ said Mh­longo.

The ZO un­der­stands that the De­part­ment of Co­op­er­a­tive Governance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs (CoGTA) is the com­plainant in the mat­ter after it no­ticed that of the 800 bore­holes meant to have been in­stalled within the Umziny­athi District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, only 186 had been com­pleted.

Ac­cord­ing to District Mayor, Pet­ros Ngubane, fol­low­ing a com­plaint the mu­nic­i­pal­ity em­ployed a ser­vice provider to com­pile a re­port re­gard­ing the bore­holes.

‘As far as we un­der­stand, the work was done and com­pleted.

‘We are not part of any in­ves­ti­ga­tions and I can­not deny or agree with any of the al­le­ga­tions at this point.’

Ngubane dis­tanced him­self from know­ing any­thing about the ten­der as he said he was not yet in of­fice at the time it was awarded.

‘I had noth­ing to do with this, all I know is the ten­der was awarded to AC In­dus­trial, the com­pany owned by Ram­lutch­man,’ he said.

In Au­gust last year, the North­ern KwaZulu-Natal Courier re­ported that CoGTA had tabled a wide-rang­ing foren­sic re­port of more than 100 pages on al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion, fraud and staff ap­prov­ing ad­vance pay­ment for work not done at the Umziny­athi District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Ngubane at the time re­vealed that R303-mil­lion went to ‘some peo­ple’s pock­ets’.

Ngubane said the cor­rup­tion started in 2014/2015 and that they would con­tinue to in­ves­ti­gate up to 2016, when the ANC re­lin­quished power to the Inkatha Free­dom Party (IFP) fol­low­ing the Au­gust 2016 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

Part of the al­le­ga­tions re­late to the ir­reg­u­lar award of ten­ders for wa­ter schemes in the area.

‘Def­i­nitely, we are go­ing to take dis­ci­plinary mea­sures and we are also tak­ing the mat­ter to the po­lice; we won’t al­low money of the poor­est of the poor [to be] eaten like this,’ Ngubane was quoted as say­ing.

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