Mapu arrest in Port Elizabeth

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Ex water board CEO remanded in custody over R45m tender fraud

The case involving former the Lepelle Northern Water Board CEO Phineas Legodi has been postponed to 17 December 2020

Mapu arrest in Port Elizabeth

Image via: Adobe Stock

The former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Lepelle Northern Water Board, Phineas Kgahlisho Legodi, will be spending more time behind bars, on charges related to tender fraud to the tune of R45 million.

The matter was postponed to 17 December 2020 to allow for a bail application, following a request from Advocate Dalton Tshinyani, of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU).

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (DPCI), also known as the Hawks, pounced on Legodi over the weekend, along with board’s chairperson of the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC), Gwako Micheal Moseamedi, and businessman, Emanuel Matome Sefalafala.

In a statement, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the three were joined by Falaz General Trading and Construction (Pty) Ltd on charges of fraud, alternatively theft, forgery and uttering, with Legodi facing an additional charge of contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

“It is alleged that in 2018, the Lepelle Northern Water Board advertised a tender in the Limpopo Province for the collection, removal and disposal of hazardous waste management in 2018. Legodi was the CEO, an accounting officer of the Lepelle Northern Water Board, at the time,” said the NPA.

Based on the recommendations of the BEC, chaired by Moseamedi, and the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC), Legodi appointed Sefalafala’s company, Falaz General Trading and Construction, to render services.

The Lepelle Northern Water Board mired in corruption allegations

The water board has been riddled with corruption and maladministration allegations. It’s also at the centre of a R3 billion failed water project in Limpopo, aimed at 55 villages in Mopani district.

In November 2020, it was learnt that a preservation order preventing the release of Legodi’s pension, lapsed reportedly because the Sheriff of the Court failed to deliver a summons to him on time.

According to Mail and Guardian, Legodi was suspended pending a probe into alleged maladministration at the entity. This came a month after Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu appointed an interim board.

According to the Special Investigative Unit’s (SIU) Special Tribunal, the interim order, dated 4 September 2020, had interdicted and restrained the Municipal Employees Union Retirement from releasing Legodi’s pension benefits pending the outcome of action proceedings to be instituted within 30 days thereof.

In 2019, the SIU raided the water board’s offices in Polokwane and seized a number of items including documents as part of its probe.