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Businessman gets four years for trying to bribe investigator to ‘lose’ docket

todayApril 7, 2023 77

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An Mpumalanga businessman, Mpendulo Sipho Mapalala, has been sentenced to four years in jail by the Mbombela special commercial crimes court for attempting to bribe a Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigator.

Mapalala wanted the investigator to make a PPE corruption investigation against a Mpumalanga department of public works service provider, Gugu Bulungu, disappear.

He will be serving time at the Mbombela correctional services centre.

The SIU and National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) welcomed the judgment, saying it sends a strong message that law enforcement agencies have a zero-tolerance approach to corruption.

The NPA secured a guilty plea from Mapalala in January on charges of corruption and bribery.

Mapalala was arrested in August 2021 during a joint operation with the Hawks when he was delivering a bribe of R50,000 to the SIU investigator.

In a joint statement, the SIU and NPA said the attempted bribe followed an SIU investigation into the affairs of the Mpumalanga department of public works, roads and transport, under proclamation R23 of 2020, which uncovered procurement irregularities.

The SIU investigations revealed that the department contracted a service provider in the 2017/18 financial year for pest control services.

“However, when the national state of disaster was declared, the department varied the contract to include disinfection services in the Ehlanzeni district. The disinfection services were for buildings owned and managed by the Mpumalanga provincial government in the said district. After the disinfection, the service provider received multiple payments amounting to R4.8m.”

“The first payment was R1.3m in July 2020 and was followed by several payments amounting to R3.5m. The SIU investigations also revealed that immediately after the first payment, the service provider started transferring large amounts of money to various entities and individuals. One of the entities then made various payments which were traced to a Mpumalanga-based law firm and two employees of the department.

“The law firm bought a property to the value of R2.2m and registered it in the name of a daughter of one of the two departmental officials,” they said.

The NPA and SIU said on  August 5 2021, the SIU interviewed Bulunga, a director of Mbombela Integrated, and Thandolwani Transport and Properties.

Written by: Ubuthebe FM Live

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