Former Manager Fined R100,000 Or Five Years In Jail Over Attempt To Rig R80 Million Tender

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The Palmridge Specialised Commercial Crimes Court has sentenced 57-year-old Wade Ashton Leaf to a fine of R100,000 or five years imprisonment after he pleaded and was found guilty on a charge of corruption.

Half of the sentence was suspended for a period of five years with conditions, according to spokesperson for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (better known as the Hawks), Colonel Philani Nkwalase.

“Over the period between October 2020 and September 2022, Sibanye Still Water issued a tender for remedial works on tailings dam in North West, Rustenburg worth R80,000,000,” he said.

Tailings dams are used to store water and waste that come as by products from the mining process. Waste from the mining processes is piped into or dumped into the tailings dams.

Nkwalase said after submissions were made, the tender bid evaluation and adjudication committee noticed that the tender bid information for both companies vying for the tender was exactly the same.

“Preliminary investigation was conducted and a case was opened and transferred to the Germiston-based Hawks’ serious corruption investigation team for further exploration,” said Nkwalase.

“The Hawks probe revealed that the former project manager of Frazer Alexander Pty (Ltd), Mr Leaf colluded with Paragon Tailings Pty (Ltd) by leaking tender bid information of his employer to help the competitor Paragon Tailings Pty (Ltd) to get the tender in exchange for a subcontract.”

Paragon Tailings Pty (Ltd) withdrew from the bid right after investigations ensued.

“Leaf was arrested and subsequently released on R10,000 bail on August 23, 2022. He made several court appearances until he pleaded guilty on a charge of corruption,” said Nkwalase.

“He was sentenced to a fine of R100,000 or serve five years imprisonment. Half of the sentence was suspended for a period of five years with conditions. Furthermore, the accused (Leaf) was declared unfit to carry a firearm.”

In March, the Nelspruit Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sentenced 46-year-old Penelope Hlengiwe Khumalo to 10 years’ imprisonment after she was convicted on charges of fraud and corruption.

At the time, Hawks spokesperson in Mpumalanga, Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi, said Khumalo is a former employee of the South African Revenue Service (Sars).

“The Nelspruit Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sentenced her after a lengthy investigation which revealed that in March 2010, the accused assisted VAT vendors to complete and submit fraudulent returns with the aim to receive undue refunds from Sars.”

“The accused was sentenced to 14 years combined imprisonment on four counts of fraud. She was further sentenced to eight years collective imprisonment on two counts of corruption,” Sekgotodi said at the time.

“Khumalo will effectively serve 10 years’ imprisonment without an option of a fine.”