R55-million stolen from Mpumalanga agriculture dept

R55-million stolen from Mpumalanga agriculture dept
LOOTING SPREE: Agriculture HOD Cain Chunda has opened criminal cases against for departmental CFO over theft and corruption charges. PICTURE BY REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Criminal charges have been laid against 8 individuals and various companies.

More than R55-million disappeared from the Mpumalanga department of agriculture through theft and fraud.

This information is revealed in a statement signed at the Nelspruit police station by the department’s head Cain Chunda this week.

The statement shows that money generated through the sales of cattle was pocketed by officials and their tenderpreneur friends.

Chunda has now laid criminal charges against former CFO Andries Letswalo and others following the conclusion of an SIU investigation…

Letswalo was fired without a disciplinary hearing on 20 January 2022 after it was found that he drafted and circulated a defamatory email claiming that both Chunda and Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tsipane were corrupt and had plundered over R90-million in the Greening Badplaas farming project.

After dismissing him, the two went to court to sue him for defamation and now it seems Letswalo’s problems for are far from over as the cops are now being asked to come arrest him…

ALSO SEE: Inside the Mpumalanga agriculture war

The statement shows how the money disappeared from the department’s coffers –

– R1.2-million that was generated through the auction of cattle was deposited into the bank account of a businessman called Job Mthombeni instead of the government’s bank account.

– R6.7-million was paid into the account of the Exacube Training Institute under the pretext that it was training students on behalf of the department

– An SIU investigation report shows that Letswalo caused the loss of a further R32.6-million to the department in irregular and wasteful expenditure, after paying R10.6-million to Sabalala Food Beverages and R22-million to Mpumelelo Agrihub Solution to supply food parcels during the COVID-19 pandemic

– Other monies disappeared after companies submitted invoices for work that was never done

“As CFO, Mr Letswalo have authorized the payments of fraudulent invoices,” the statement alleges.

(edited by ZK)
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