State opposes bail for 'risky' accused in police vehicle marking tender bust
Fifteen of the 16 people who appeared before the Pretoria regional court in connection with the award of a tender for reflective markings on police vehicles have been released on bail of R5,000 each.
However, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) investigating directorate opposed bail for one of the accused, as it believed he posed a high risk of tampering with evidence and interfering with witnesses.
The senior police officials and civilians were arrested in a predawn swoop on Thursday in connection with fraud in which over R56m was paid to service providers, who then allegedly paid kickbacks to supply chain management officials responsible for awarding the tender in 2017.
The investigating directorate informed the court on Friday that three of the accused were already before court on charges of fraud and corruption relating to the procurement of emergency lights for police vehicles, involving potential prejudice to the police of R191m.
They are Ramahlapi Johannes Mokwena, Brig James Ramanjalum and Thomas Dumasi Marima.
The focus of the “blue lights case”, investigated by Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) members — seconded to the investigating directorate — is the capture of the supply chain management division within the police service to line the pockets of senior police officials, between 2016 and 2017.
Investigating directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Twala said the three accused were allegedly involved in orchestrating both schemes.
Investigating director Hermione Cronje said the state opposed bail in respect of Ramanjalum. His bail application will be heard next Thursday.
Twala said the state did not oppose bail for the rest of the accused and they were released on R5,000 bail each. All of the accused will return to court on September 29.
Mokwena was appointed divisional commissioner for supply chain management in October 2015, four days after Khomotso Phahlane was appointed acting national police commissioner.
Marima worked in the supply chain management division of the police in Pretoria and held the rank of lieutenant-colonel.
Ramanjalum was head of the movable assets management division within the police supply chain management division.
“The investigating directorate assures South Africans that it is hard at work to reclaim the state from capture.
“There will be consequences for crooked officials and those who collaborate with them,” said Twala.