He is accused of bribing an SIU investigator.
Zero13 Lifestyle restaurant owner Mpendulo Mapalala was this week released on R10 000 bail for fraud and defeating the ends of justice.
He appeared briefly at the Mbombela Magistrates Court.
Special Investigating Unit (SIU) spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said Mapalala was arrested by the Hawks on Monday after he allegedly tried to give an SIU investigator R50 000 to no longer continue with the investigation.
The SIU is investigating how Mapalala’s company was given money to supply Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) by the Mpumalanga public works department.
The company had been given work by the department to do pest control on government buildings.
However, when the Covid-19 pandemic began last year the same company was paid money for masks amounting to R5 million.
“The first payment was R1.3 million in July 2020 and was followed by a number of payments amounting to R3.5 million,” Kganyago said.
Kganyago said when the Hawks nabbed Mapalala on Monday he was in possession of over R60 000, which they seized.
The SIU also found that huge amounts of money were transferred to various individuals, including 2 government employees.
A property amounting to R2.2 million was bought with the money and was registered in the name of a daughter of a public works department employee.
Mapalala will appear again in court on 5 October 2021. The 31-year-old co-owns Zero13 Lifestyle restaurant in Riverside Park, Mbombela.
(edited by ZK)
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