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Former Newcastle Municipal Manager Bhekani Errol Mswane, CFO Bhekisisa Hlongwane, Bonakude Consulting (Pty) Ltd and its Director, Velenkosini Lindokuhle Mtshali appeared in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Thursday, 29 September 2022, on charges of fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Municipal Financial Management Act (MFMA) totalling R7.8 million.
According to the courts, Mswane and Hlongwane were employed at the Newcastle Municipality as the Municipal Manager and Chief Financial Officer respectively. This, while Mtshali was the sole Director of Bonakude Consulting, a consultant to the municipality.
KZN Regional Spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Natasha Kara said, “The state is alleging that between 2018 and 2019, the men colluded to illegally extend an expired contract for Bonakude Consulting to provide consulting services to the municipality. It is also alleged that Mswane and Hlongwane contravened the MFMA by incurring irregular and wasteful expenditure.”
Moreover, Kara explained that further allegations showed that Mtshali and Bonakude Consulting received the proceeds of unlawful activities from Mswane and Hlongwane after they were paid for the non-existent contract.
As a result, the court granted them bail of R20 000 each with the following conditions:
- Surrender their passports and not apply for travel documents.
- Not enter the municipality until the finalisation of the trial.
- Not contact state witnesses.
- Mtshali and his company are not to tender for work at the municipality until the trial is finalised.
With the matter being remanded to 1 November 2022, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think justice will prevail?
Share your views in the comment section below.