GEORGE NEWS - Members of the Hawks Commercial Crime Investigation unit seized several documents as well as electronic equipment from the office and adjacent offices of Trevor Botha, Municipal Manager.
"This investigation relates to the alleged fraud and corruption emanating from the failure to follow due process regarding the appointment and filling of a vacant post," said Captain Philani Nkwalase, Hawks spokesperson.
Nkwalase did not want to disclose any names, but said the private homes of some of the people of interest were raided, as well as several offices. He confirmed the search and seizure at George Municipality offices. "There is no arrest at this stage, pending the ongoing investigation. Documents and electronic equipment were seized and will be subjected to further investigation."
The latest raid is unrelated to the search and seizure conducted at the George Municipality in April last year, which followed after a request by Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Anton Bredell. That investigation has been completed and is currently in the hands of the National Prosecuting Authority.
Bredell said, through his spokesman, that they are aware of the Hawks' visit on Tuesday. "We understand that computers and cellphones of administrative staff have been seized. We further understand that the investigation only concerns some administrative staff of the municipality," he said.
In a response by the municipality to an enquiry by George Herald, Botha confirmed that the Hawks carried out a search and seizure process on 9 July and that it relates to legal processes followed in the appointment of a senior official. "The Hawks are at liberty to perform their duties as required. What is of concern is the process followed regarding a governance and administrative matter. It is mind boggling that a reported case pertaining to the unprocedural and irregular investment or R350-million by a senior official has to date not elicited the same response from senior provincial politicians or the Hawks. The continued, necessary cooperation and assistance is being given to the Hawks with their investigation," he said.
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