NPA seizes assets worth R31.8m

Johannesburg - The NPA has seized assets worth about R31.8m belonging to a Taiwanese woman who allegedly defrauded the City of Cape Town, it said on Monday.

"The assets restrained involve about 14 immovable properties, four motor vehicles and monies in 16 bank accounts of the defendant and her family relatives who benefited from the tenders, as set out in the application papers," National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Nathi Mncube said in a statement.

He said the NPA's Western Cape Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) obtained a restraint order on 19 August authorising it to seize the assets belonging to the woman, now a South African citizen, and entities owned by her five relatives.

Mncube said the matter involved three contracts valued at approximately R67.8m the woman procured from the city through her business entity.

She allegedly defrauded the municipality by not disclosing that her business partner in the company awarded the tenders worked for the social development department. The tenders precluded applications in which state employees were involved.

"The state official involved in the business entity that tendered with the city was a certain coloured female employee of the department of social development," Mncube said.

She was allegedly recruited to earn higher points in the tender bidding process, due to the provisions of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act.

Mncube said a whistle-blower brought the matter to the city's attention.

Forensic investigations by the city revealed the woman was not honest in her application papers for the tenders, when asked whether her company involved a state official.

Mncube said it was clear in the application forms that business entities employing state officials were precluded from tendering for contracts.

Mncube said a curator bonis had been appointed to take charge of the assets pending finalisation of the matter.

The woman and her company face fraud charges. The matter would be heard in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court when the AFU filed its application on 26 September.