Trial for Talana shacks fraud architects to get underway in Polokwane

LOCAL NEWS

By Thabo Monyela

POLOKWANE-The trial for six people accused of corruption in the R15,3 million Talana shacks tender scandal, set to get underway in the Polokwane Specialised Commercial Crimes Court today, Friday 24.

Aventino’s director Constance Mohlala, Raymond Makoto Nkwane, Thobamotse Jeremiah Makofane, Simphiwe Nolwethemba Maphisa, Tsokollo Pacanin Monareng and Lerato Pearl Dikhutso each face three counts of fraud, corruption and forgery.

The accused were arrested in December 2020, and released on bail, with Constance Mohlala granted bail of R20 000 and other 5 accused out on bail of R10 000 each.

The National Prosecuting Authorities (NPA) alleged that the six accused suspects obtained a tender of Talana shacks, by using misrepresentations and forged credentials of land surveyors and architects, while they were not permitted by the professionals to use their documents.

Talana project scope of work included 152 pit toilets and the installation of three water tanks.

It is further alleged that the suspects claimed the amount of over R2 million out of R15,3 million that was meant to be used for building the 192 shacks and 53 toilets at Talana hostel in Tzaneen town and Burgersfort Ext 10.

Their arrest came after the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) uncovered that the tender for the construction of Limpopo’s R64 000 each shack was fraudulently obtained.

The Aventino was initially given R12,3 million tender to construct 192 temporary houses and the project’s scope of work was extended by Limpopo CoGHSTA to include the construction of 152 pit toilets and installation of three water tanks (10 000 litres), for an additional fee of R3 million, taking the contract value to R15.3 million.

The appointed service provider only managed to construct 40 shacks at Talana Hostel and submitted two invoices totalling over R2.5 million, while in Burgersfort Extension 10 site, no structure was completed as there were only half-built.

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