South Africa News

Ex-Gauteng MEC Brian Hlongwa to be arrested for decade old graft claims

Former Gauteng Health MEC Brian Hlongwa is finally expected to be arrested this week, over graft claims dating back more than ten years.

While the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on Saturday declined to comment, well-placed sources from within the country’s criminal justice system this week confirmed to The Citizen that arrest warrants had been issued for Hlongwa, along with various other individuals and entities.

The Citizen understands his camp has been informed, but Hlongwa on Saturday insisted he knew nothing about his pending arrest.

“I’ve not heard anything,” he said.

“This matter has been ongoing for quite a while. Up until now, I’ve not heard anything from anyone so I can’t say anything. It’s the year 2021, I was an MEC between 2006 and 2009. There’s been investigations ever since then … I’m hearing this for the first time.”

In the meantime, a City Press report from earlier this year suggests Hlongwa and his soon-to-be co-accused could be facing racketeering charges.

The warrants are expected to be effected early next week, and the accused to appear in the Johannesburg Regional Court.

A Special Investigating Unit (SIU) report made public in 2018 fingered Hlongwa in allegations of graft, which is believed to have seen a company called 3P Consulting – owned by businessman Richard Payne, a known associate of Hlongwa’s – awarded R1.2 billion worth of government contracts in exchange for providing civil servants with kickbacks.

According to the report, Hlongwa – who was at the helm of the province’s healthcare at the time – scored big in the form of luxury spa treatments, trips, and a multi-million-rand deposit on a plush Bryanston home from the dodgy dealings.

It’s taken years, however, to move on him and he in the interim has resigned from his position as MEC on the back of calls for his removal.

Last year, four other senior departmental officials who were implicated in the SIU report – Sybil Ngcobo, Mmakgosi Mosupi, Valdis Romaano, and Obakeng Mookeletsi – were arrested and charged with corruption and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

They were granted bail of various amounts of between R8 000 and R25 000.

Payne along with businessman Phil Austin (who were also implicated) were meant to be arrested at the same time but their warrants of arrest could not be executed as they were out of the country.

It’s since been reported, though, that extradition processes in relation to Payne were underway.

-The Citizen

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