Mon, 27 Sep 2021

  • A KZN agriculture employee has appeared in court for allegedly defrauding the department of R3.9 million.
  • Her accomplices were arrested in March.
  • They are accused of invoicing the department for work that was not done.

A KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development employee has appeared in court, along with service providers, for allegedly defrauding the provincial government of R3.9 million.

Sithembile Khumalo, 43, is accused of conspiring with service providers to submit claims for work which was not done, said Hawks spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo.

The 11 contracts were awarded by the department between 2015 and 2016 and were worth R3.9 million.

Former department employee Lethiwe Mbatha - and service providers Slindelo Mbhele, Msizi Mbense, Fayers Mahlangu, Princess Mthombeni and Patrick Mthombeni - were arrested in March 2021. They were each granted R10 000 bail.

READ | Hawks make second arrest in R1.1m Barberton mine fraud case, alleged mastermind on the run

On Monday, Khumalo appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court on charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering.

"The accused allegedly [conspired] with her colleagues and the service providers to defraud the department. They allegedly compiled orders and awarded tenders to the service providers who were also well aware that no services would be rendered.

"Fraudulent documents and invoices were submitted as claims. As a result, the department suffered actual prejudice of R3.9 million," Mhlongo said.

Khumalo was also granted R10 000 bail and will appear together with her co-accused on 13 August.

Source: News24

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