Hawks arrest Hartbeespoort businessman for alleged fraud, corruption, money laundering

The owner of a business based in Hartbeespoort has been arrested by the Hawks, along with six other people, for the alleged irregular awarding of a R25.6 municipal tender to his company.

Mpho Steyn Nangammbi, the owner of Milongani Eco Consulting CC, with a listed address in Birdwood Estate in Hartbeespoort, was arrested along with his co-accused on Thursday and appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrates’ Court on charges of corruption, money laundering, racketeering, fraud and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act.

Nangammbi’s arrest follows a Hawks investigation linking him and his co-accused to the alleged irregular awarding of a R25.6 million tender by the Public Health Directorate in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to Milongani Eco Consulting CC in 2015. The late mayor of the municipality, Mongameli Bobani, who died of COVID-19 in November 2020, has also been implicated.

“Mpho Steyn Nangammbi (44), Joram Mziwonke Mkosana (49), Thabo Williams (45), Andile Wellington Tolom (51), Vuyokazi Bazi (35), Thandeka Gloria Buti (50), Rukaard Stefferine Lezario Abrahams (31) and three companies, 4 Sisters Trading Enterprise CC, Dankovista (PTY) LTD and Milongani Eco-Consulting CC collectively face 48 counts of the charges. There is one more suspect who is yet to be arrested,” said NPA spokesperson Anelisa Ngcakani.

Ngcakani said Nangammbi’s company was awarded the tender after a municipal official allegedly recommended Milongani and manipulated the evaluation process in order to ensure that the company scored higher than other competing companies.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality entered into a service level agreement with Milongani under the conditions that the contract was for three years, sub-contracting was only permitted at the municipality’s instruction and fees were R350 per hour.

Despite the prohibition of sub-contractors, a director at the municipality allegedly recruited two other service providers to perform work, officially assigned to Milongani. The sub-contractors allegedly took complete control over the projects and were instructed to submit proposals and quotations to the municipality in Word format so that the documents could be altered with Milongani’s letterhead and a consultation fee added.

From July 2015 to February 2017 a total of 43 payments amounting to just over R25.6 million were paid into Milongani’s FNB account. Nangammbi allegedly split and transferred a large portion of the funds into four FNB bank accounts, which also belonged to the company and into his three FNB personal accounts.

Ngcakani said it is alleged that Nangammbi provided two municipal directors with bank cards and pin codes for two of these bank accounts. He also paid over R8 million to the two companies involved.

She said in an alleged effort to conceal the source of funds handed over to mayor Bobani, the funds were laundered through the bank accounts of the two companies. A total of R2.45m was allegedly paid to the mayor through these bank accounts.

“On Tuesday, 27 July 2021, the Grahamstown High Court granted the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority a restraint order against the assets, estimated at just over R11m of the accused, their spouses and entities, including the assets in the estate of the late Mongameli Bobani.”

Nangammbi was granted R 20 000 bail. His co-accused were respectively granted bail of R 8 000, R 10 000, R 3000 and R 1 000 bail.

The case was postponed to 28 January 2022.