Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha has been pushed into a difficult position this week, following a raid on his office in the province. The investigation – lead by the Hawks – is in connection with his department’s alleged inflation of expenses on flight tickets, as well as tender fraud. The law enforcement agency confirmed the details over the weekend.
“Hawks are working on confidential information that suggests some procurement irregularities and based on such information there was a search and seizure operation that targeted five premises.”
“Among those is the supply chain office that is situated in the premises housing the premier’s office. The enquiry is still ongoing and there are no arrests.”
Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi
Limpopo government’s alleged flight tickets racket
As well as the local branches of government, three separate travel agents have also had their premises raided. As IOL report, they are accused of facilitating some dodgy deals on flight tickets, which regional politicians helped fix.
It’s believed that those serving under Stan Mathabatha had manipulated the costs in their travel expenses. One of the examples cited from the Hawks’ report is that a R52 000 return trip to Cuba was invoiced at R250 000.
The Newahu Chair from the premier’s office also claimed it was possible to secure yourself a R30 000 return flight ticket, and bill the office R240 000 for your troubles – a mark up of almost 800%.
Department “welcome” Hawks investigation
Kenny Mathivha is a spokesperson for the Limpopo government. He says that any investigation into their conduct is welcome, and promised to assist the Hawks in any way they can:
“The Office of the Premier welcomes the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) who visited the office this morning to collect evidence on the procurement of travelling agency.”
“We will fully co-operate with them to ensure that no stone is left unturned. The Hawks letter of intent is aimed at investigating international travels to check if there are any shenanigans. We would like to category put it on record that this investigation has nothing to do with Limpopo Connection.”