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Court declares Multi-million rand restraining order on Amathole officials permanent



High Court in Makhanda

A High Court in Makhanda has issued a restraining order worth over R165 million against high-ranking Amathole district officials.

The court imposed this order on people and businesses connected to fraudulent and corrupt financial activities in order to prevent the accused individuals and businesses from concealing their stolen cash.

According to a police statement, the court has freed accused persons whose crimes involved money laundering and fraud on bail until their trial.

According to the statement, the case focused on a massive initiative called  the Accelerated Sanitation Programme, which was launched by the Amathole District Municipality in 2013.

The ambitious project sought to build 66 700 ventilated improved pit (VIP) toilets throughout the municipality. The project’s budget was set at R631 million, with the Siyenza Group in charge of carrying it out.

The project, however, met a big hurdle when the National Treasury issued a complaint stating that the Siyenza Group presented two fraudulent tax certificates during the procurement process, according to police spokeswoman Captain Yolisa Mgolodela.

“Consequently, investigations were launched, leading to the shocking discovery that over R149 million had been redirected to multiple beneficiaries’ accounts, in addition to the purchase of a luxurious R16 million house by the director of Siyenza Group, utilizing funds meant for the sanitation project,” she said.

Following the arrest of the accused in November last year, Mogolodela confirmed that both the ill-gotten funds and the extravagant property were seized.

In December 2019, a provisional restraint order was issued, effectively freezing the assets. This provisional order has now been confirmed as permanent, securing the government’s hold on the confiscated wealth, as well as reinforcing the severity of the charges against the accused.

The Makhanda High Court has scheduled the case to reconvene on 20 September this year.  Meanwhile, several of the accused have submitted representations to the National Director of Public Prosecution, aiming to defend their actions.


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