Deputy police commissioner in court on fraud charges over R191m tender

12 October 2020 - 15:38
Deputy national police commissioner Lt-Gen Bonang Mgwenya in the dock of the Palm Ridge magistrate's court after being arrested on corruption, fraud and money laundering charges.
Deputy national police commissioner Lt-Gen Bonang Mgwenya in the dock of the Palm Ridge magistrate's court after being arrested on corruption, fraud and money laundering charges.
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

Deputy national police commissioner for human resources management, Lt-Gen Bonang Mgwenya, made a brief appearance at the Palm Ridge magistrate's court on Monday in connection with the so-called “blue lights” fraud case.

She was released on R20,000 bail.

Mgwenya will join 12 other co-accused — including former police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane — when the trial resumes at the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on November 16.

She was arrested on Monday morning after her regular morning jog, and police also seized her BMW X5.

The accused face charges of fraud, theft, and obstructing or defeating the course of justice. The charges relate to a R191m tender in which Vimpie Manthata’s company, Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement Pty Ltd, received the contract for the installation of emergency warning lights on police cars between March 1 2016 and March 31 2017.

They stand accused of colluding to ensure that Manthata's company was awarded the contract to install 1,550 police vehicles with warning lights at grossly-inflated prices.

Mgwenya, 56, is facing charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering for her role in ensuring the contract to supply emergency warning equipment for the police went to Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement, while she enjoyed an undisclosed close relationship with Manthata.

Among other benefits mentioned in the charge sheet, Manthata assisted Mgwenya with purchasing a BMW X5 from Zambesi Auto Motors by paying a contribution of R440,000 towards the purchase price and with negotiating a discount of R284,580 for her with Zambezi Auto.

These benefits put Mgwenya in a position to apply for a loan to finance the purchase of the X5, priced at just more than R1m. Mgwenya failed to disclose these benefits to her employer.

Mgwenya indicated in her bail application that she intends to plead not guilty to all the charges.

She said she had a valid defence to the charges, which she did not disclose.

The state did not oppose bail.

The other accused are former Gauteng police commissioner Gen Deliwe De Lange, Maj-Gen Nombhuruza Napo, Lt-Gen Ramahlapi Mokwena, Brig Ravichandran Pillay, Brigadier James Ramanjalum, Thomas Marima, Maetapese Mulaiwa, Judy Rose, Samantha Andrews, Manthata and his company, Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement.

The police service stopped payment after R65m had been paid to Manthata's company.

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