Data Movement Reports, Cell Phone Records and Bank Statements Outline Zandile Gumede Corruption Case

  • Former eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede and her co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against them by the state.
  • Charges were formally laid against the 22 defendants, including Gumede, former eThekwini town manager Sipho Nzuza and councilor Mondli Mthembu, in court on Monday.
  • The trial is due to start next year, after a series of delays in recent weeks as many defendants ran out of money to pay their lawyers.

Former eThekwini mayor and current member of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislative Assembly, Zandile Gumede, has pleaded not guilty to bribery, fraud and racketeering charges before the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban.

On Monday, Senior Prosecutor Ashika Lucken began the formal process of reading the indictment which contains more than 2,700 counts relating to fraud, money laundering and racketeering amounting to more than R300 million in Durban Solid Waste (DSW) funds.

The charges, which are expected to be read this week, involved complex audit accounting principles that required forensic expertise, Lucken said.

All defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Speaking before Judge Sharmaine Balton, Lucken said the state’s evidence included 6,000 bank statements, 200 expert cellphone records and “other technical reports on data movements”.

In placing the indictment on the official public record, she pointed out that Gumede, Councilor Mondli Mthembu and former eThekwini Town Manager Sipho Nzuza carefully coordinated key officials who embezzled funds. public to select companies.

Gumede initiated a racketeering scheme that placed public funds in the hands of specific companies, Lucken alleged in court Monday.

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She read parts of the more than 400 pages of the indictment in court where she described Gumede as one of the main “role players”.

Gumede would instruct his co-defendant, Deputy Head of Strategic and New Developments at DSW Robert Abbu, Chairman of eThekwini Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC) Sandile Ngcobo, Mthembu and Nzuza, Lucken said.

Gumede, Nzuza, Abbu and Ngcobo were the key players who “formed a business”, according to racketeering charges in the indictment.

The now allegedly corrupt DSW contract was classified as a “special project” where Abbu, on the instruction of Gumede and Mthembu, was appointed by Nzuza to head the special projects, the state alleged.

Nzuza then appointed Ngcobo as chairman of the bid adjudication committee for the specific project to ensure the appointment of four preferred service providers.

Web of Corruption

According to the indictment, the contracts of 27 DSW service providers were due to expire in 2016 and 2017.

Abbu was responsible for initiating the supply chain management process to appoint service providers.

He should have done so a year before the contracts expired between May and August 2016, the state claimed.

Despite requests from his DSW colleagues, Abbu did not conclude the supply chain process for the new contract in time.

In January and April 2017, DSW received approximately 1,088 quotations in response to tenders for the appointment of contractors for the new contract, with Abbu being a party to this invitation process.

The companies charged in the case – Omphile Thabang Projects, Ilanga LaMahlase Projects Pty Ltd, Uzuzinekele Trading 31 CC and El Shaddai Holdings Group – provided “structural continuity for the company’s illegal activities”, according to the indictment. ‘charge.

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Most of the more than R300 million that was siphoned from the city would end up in the coffers of Gumede itself or distributed to privileged councilors and community entrepreneurs (CBCs) favored by Gumede and Mthembu.

The funds even ultimately benefited people like the MKMVA, the indictment reads.

He continued:

[Gumede and Mthembu] enabled a large number of ANC ward councillors, ward committee members, forum members and business organizations, such as the MKMVA and Amadelangokubona, to benefit financially from the DSW contract, thereby increasing the possibility of being favorably perceived in the political arena by these beneficiaries.

Nzuza’s wife, Bagcinile Nzuza, was also involved in racketeering as someone “who facilitated and participated in engagements with entities associated with the DSW tender at times when important decisions were being made. concerning the said call for tenders”.

In court on Monday, Gumede’s spokesman, Njabulo Mchunu, said he was glad the case had progressed as Gumede “always wanted his day in court”.

Without evidence, he alleged that the state was “often playing games” and buying time.

Asked about the details of the allegations against Gumede, he said she had been wrongly blamed for a council decision.

“This issue of the special project, it is a matter of understanding how the municipality works. Whatever decision the mayor makes, it must be adopted by the council. She did not nominate herself within the framework of this project , that was the advice.”

The case continues this week.