The state says it will bring over 100 witnesses to testify in the fraud and corruption case against former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and her 20 co-accused. They are facing charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering.
The case emanates from an allegedly irregular multi-million-rand waste removal tender in 2017.
During the first day of the trial at the Durban High Court, the state outlined the charges against the accused and how Gumede, former city manager, Sipho Nzuza and the former head of the Durban Solid Waste, Robert Abbu, colluded in the manipulation of the waste removal tender to award it to their preferred companies.
Proper channels eluded
State prosecutor, Ashika Lucken told the Durban High Court how Abbu did not follow proper process in Supply Chain Management (SCM) processes.
It is alleged that these were authorised by Nzuza on instruction from Gumede. Lucken told the court that Gumede, Nzuza and Abbu handpicked their preferred companies who would in turn channel kickbacks to them.
“Accused 1, Gumede was mayor of eThekwini; accused 1 is the principal controller of the enterprise in that she along with accused 2 determined the objective and the structure the operational dynamics and the beneficiaries. Accused 1 with accused 2, 3, 4 and 5 used her office to capture or co-opt role players including the councillors, the administration and the Supply Chain Management, as well as the financial component to be used to circumvent the outcome of the SCM, in favour of business entities and individuals that were proximity to accused 1 and 2, or a political organisation to which 1 and 2 were affiliated to,” explains the state representative.
The state says bank statements of the accused, cellphone records and invoices supplied by their companies will form part of its evidence. Among the state’s witnesses are some former councillors, senior municipal officials and those in charge of the municipality’s integrity and investigative unit.
“The state will, among others, call the following witnesses to prove its case, Mbuso Ngcobo, the head of the city integrity and investigations unit. He is the complainant in this matter. He will testify that his unit received an anonymous complain related to DSW tender. He will further provide evidence on the background of the initiating forensic audit, the investigation and the appointment of a forensic audit and investigative firm to perform the work.”
The trial continues.
Original Story by www.sabcnews.com
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