South Africa News

Two of Brian Hlongwa’s co-accused named in another fraud matter

Two of the nine accused in the case involving controversial former Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa are named in another fraud and corruption matter that is being heard at the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court.

Hlongwa and his co-accused, including his wife Joeline, were granted bail in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on Tuesday with bail ranging between R20,000 and R50,000.

They face schedule five offences, which could carry life sentences should they be convicted.

Two of the eight accused Sybil Ngcobo and Valdis Ramaano, who appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court alongside Hlongwa, were named in what the Hawks have described as the first leg of investigations into corruption in the Department of Health.

Hawks spokesperson Nomthandazo Mbambo said: “Four senior officials from the Gauteng Department of Health were charged for similar offences and appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrates Court for corruption charges worth R1.2 billion.”

Their case, which was concluded in October 2020, is expected back in court in January.

BACK IN COURT IN APRIL

In a case of the wheels of justice finally turning, Hlongwa, his wife, and six others are expected back in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court in April next year to face charges relating to corruption, fraud, money laundering, and racketeering in the Gauteng Health Department over a decade ago.

All expenses paid local and international holidays, cash gifts and loans are some of the kickbacks senior officials in the Gauteng health department are accused of benefitting from through the irregular awarding of multimillion-rand tenders during Hlongwa’s tenure as MEC.

A Special Investigating Unit report, which was made public in 2018, pointed to Hlongwa in allegations of graft, that saw a company called 3P Consulting – owned by the former MEC’s associate Richard Payne – awarded R1.2 billion worth of government contracts in exchange for kickbacks.

-EWN

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Amanda du Pont

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