Monday, June 6, 2011

Over R300m Tenders - John Block

John Block, the ANC Northern Cape Chairman who is currently out on bail regarding an alleged R112 million tender fraud, has been implicated in a new Hawks investigation involving tenders worth R300 million.

In accordance with a Sunday Times report the Northern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Affairs and Tourism is being investigated for dodgy security contracts in respect of government buildings awarded to a company linked to Northern Cape finance.

The report says that provincial police spokeswoman Cherelle Ehlers confirmed this week that the Hawks were investigating a case of “fraud and corruption” against Global Crown Security Services, based in Kimberley but no arrests have been made as yet.

At the time, Block also headed the party’s deployment committee, which decides who holds influential provincial government positions, including those with authority to award tenders.

According to the Sunday Times Block was allegedly linked to the security company through a web of friends and associates, who all apparently received generous payments, described as “admin fees”, “settlements” or “consultancy”.

Ehlers said the investigations were at a very sensitive stage and could therefore not divulge any further details.

Dali Mjila, Block’s lawyer, was quoted as saying it was undesirable “for our client to respond to any averments if it is correct that this matter is under investigation”.

In respect of the earlier R112m tender fraud charge Block is out on R100 000 bail.

The matter is due in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on June 10 where the charges are fraud, corruption and money laundering.

The ANC leader was arrested with eight others, including Uruguayan businessman and Intaka Holdings owner, Gaston Savoi. The arrest was regarding a R112 million tender fraud related to the purchase of water purification equipment from Intaka at inflated prices in 2005 and 2006.

Block, Savoi and their co-accused – Fernando Praderi, Ansano Romani, Ronald Geddes, Sanjay Mitah, Deon Madyo, Daniel Gaborone and Nelmarie Oosthuizen – appeared in the Magistrate’s Court in a matter which is being personally prosecuted by National Director of Public Prosecutions Adv Menzi Simelane.

In November 2010 Miningmx alleged that Block is a director of a company that for years has mined salt in the Kalahari with a fraudulent mining licence. 

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