Former Lepelle Water Board CEO Phineas Legodi, Two Others Remanded In Custody Over R45m Tender Fraud

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Former CEO of Lepelle Northern Water Phineas Legodi.

FORMER Lepelle Northern Water Board chief executive officer Phineas Legodi, businessman Emanuel Sefalafala and the board’s Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) chairperson Gwako Moseamedi will spent the next two days in custody pending their appearance on Thursday on charges of fraud and corruption.

The trio appeared in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court on Monday after their arrests during the weekend.

Legodi, Moseamedi and Sefalafala were joined by Falaz General Trading and Construction (Pty) Ltd on charges of fraud, alternatively theft, forgery and uttering, with Legodi facing an additional charge of contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.

The three were arrested by the Directorate for Priority Crimes Investigations over the weekend.

It is alleged that in 2018 the Lepelle Northern Water Board advertised a tender in the Limpopo Province for the collection, removal and disposal of hazardous waste management in 2018.

Legodi was the CEO, an accounting officer of the Lepelle Northern Water Board, at the time.

Based on the recommendations of the BEC, chaired by Moseamedi, and the Bid Adjudication Committee (BAC), Legodi appointed Sefalafala’s company, Falaz General Trading and Construction, to render services.

Lepelle Northern Water is a water board and its primary activity is to provide water service to the other water services institutions within its service area in the Limpopo Province.

The prosecutor Advocate Dalton Tshinyani of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit asked for the matter to be postponed to 17 December for bail application.

The accused were remanded in custody.

The water board has been riddled with corruption and maladministration allegations. It’s also at the centre of a R3 billion failed water project in Limpopo, aimed at 55 villages in Mopani district.

In November 2020, it was learnt that a preservation order preventing the release of Legodi’s pension, lapsed reportedly because the Sheriff of the Court failed to deliver a summons to him on time.

According to the Special Investigative Unit’s (SIU) Special Tribunal, the interim order, dated 4 September 2020, had interdicted and restrained the Municipal Employees Union Retirement from releasing Legodi’s pension benefits pending the outcome of action proceedings to be instituted within 30 days thereof.

In 2019, the SIU raided the water board’s offices in Polokwane and seized a number of items including documents as part of its probe.

Lepelle Northern Water has embarked on curbing water scarcity problems in Polokwane.

Speaking to the media last year, Legodi said this project for bulk water supply infrastructure will meet the needs of the population in Polokwane which is growing until 2036, therefore the public can be rest assured that water rectification and sanitation problems will be the thing of the past.

(SOURCE: Inside Metros)

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