South Africa: Senior EC Education Official in Court for PPE Corruption

A senior Eastern Cape Education Department official, his wife and a businessman have appeared at the Zwelitsha Magistrate’s Court on charges related to a R4 million PPE tender.

Supply Chain Management chief director, Marius Harmse, his wife Elanore and businessman, Sigqibo Makupula, appearted in the court on charges of fraud, money laundering and corruption. They were granted R10 000 bail each.

The arrests come after an investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) that revealed that Harmse had indirectly received some R328 000 in kickbacks for awarding the tender to Makupula’s company, Kups Trading.

“The SIU probe found that Makupula transferred a sum of R573 000.00… towards the purchase price of a vehicle, which was to be purchased by Mr and Mrs Harmse to the value of R850 000. Mr Harmse paid the balance of R277 000 to Star Motors, with the view to settle the balance of the purchase price. The vehicle was registered in the name of Mrs Harmse on 3 February 2021,” SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said.

He explained that the vehicle was then sold months later and Harmse allegedly tried to conceal the proceeds.

“Harmse approached the Sales Manager at Star Motors, Mr Hubbard, during April 2021 to place the said motor vehicle on their pre-owned stand as a consignment unit to try and sell it on Mr Harmse’s behalf. Mr Hubbard agreed . The said motor vehicle was sold on 10 May 2021 and on the instruction of Mr and Mrs Harmse, to the value of R800 000.00.

“The purchase price was paid into Mr and Mrs Harmse’s Standard Bank account in the name of Trentrade 23 (Pty). Furthermore, the SIU investigation revealed that this is where the integration took place, the purchase of the said motor vehicle and it being transferred into the name of Mr Msimango [another Star Motors employee] and not that of Mr or Mrs Harmse shows their intent to hide the proceeds and reintroduce [them] as part of the financial system,” Kganyago said.

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