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by Vusumuzi Bhengu -


A  picture of a seized plane in Zambia

By Staff Writer | October 16, 2023, Zambian Observer

The Director of Public Prosecutions has applied before the Lusaka High Court, Economic and Financial Crimes registry for a private jet used in the gold scam case to be forfeited to the State.

Drug Enforcement Commission Assistant Commissioner, Martin Chitamba says that on 13th August, 2023, information was received to the effect that a T7-WSS Global Express (GLEX) Jet from Cairo, Egypt suspected to be carrying prohibited articles landed around 17:15 hours at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA).

Mr. Chitamba says when the airspace application form completed by IBIS Air for the plane to land was viewed, it was discovered that the applicants had falsely declared that the aircraft was not carrying anything.

He says it took five hours for the five Egyptian nationals to allow the investigative team on the plane to inspect the aircraft.

Mr. Chitamba has also revealed that when the investigative team was finally allowed onto the plane, they found cargo such as, 602 pieces of brass pellets (a combination of copper and zinc metals) weighing a total of 127.28 Kilograms purported to have been gold valued at about $7, 636, 800, five (5) pistols with 126 rounds of ammunition and eleven (11) pistol magazines, a drilling machine and over $5.7 million dollars.

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Judge orders ex-KeRRA manager to forfeit Sh500m property

by Vusumuzi Bhengu -

Image of a gavel

By Paul Ogemba, 18 November 2023: The Standard

A former senior manager at Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) has lost property worth Sh500 million acquired through corruption.

Justice Esther Maina ordered Margaret Wanja Muthui and her associates to forfeit the property to the state after finding that she enriched herself through proceeds of crime and used proxies to register them.

“She cannot be allowed to benefit from property she acquired through corruption. If indeed she was capable of purchasing the property, why then did she look for mama mbogas (vegetable sellers) from Githurai to pose as the purchasers?” said Justice Maina.

Among the property Muthui was ordered to forfeit to the state are 11 apartments in Kileleshwa, a townhouse at Collingham Gardens in Nairobi, 24 apartments in Ruaka, a piece of land in Ruaka, a plot in Dagoretti and Sh94 million in her accounts.

Justice Maina ruled that the Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Muthui corruptly acquired millions of shillings when she served as deputy director of supply chain management at the road’s authority.

The judge found that ARA had proved that Muthui had stashed old Sh1,000 notes in her house and when the government declared a phase-out of the currency in 2019, she had nowhere to hide them and embarked on massive buying of property to clear the money.

In order to conceal her identity, the former Kura manager recruited Esther Wagio Njunge, Grace Ndiritu, Mercy Nyambura and Cynthia Nyambura as her proxies and named them as beneficiaries and registered owners of the property.

“It was worth noting that some of the listed beneficiaries disowned being owners of the property since they were mere small scale traders who were asked to pose as buyers but knew nothing about the source of the funds,” ruled Maina.

The Judge further declared that any rental income, benefit and profit accruing from the 11 Signature Apartments in Kileleshwa owned by Muthui and the 24 Taraji Residence apartments in Ruaka are proceeds of crime that should be remitted to the state.

ARA in its suit accused the former KeRRA manager of being the architect of the corruption scandal where she bought the property and registered them in the names of her associates to conceal her identity.

According to ARA, investigations established that Muthui paid Sh264 million in cash for 11 apartments in Kileleshwa within a period of three months during the demonetisation of the old Sh1,000 notes in 2019 so as to launder the illegitimately obtained cash.

The agency said they started investigating Muthui and her associates when they received information that she had acquired massive wealth within a short period of time through a scheme of money laundering and corruption.

According to ARA, Muthui had been collecting monthly rent ranging from Sh116,000 to Sh200,000 from each of the 11 apartments in Kileleshwa which the court said must be forfeited to the state.

The agency claimed that even after giving the named persons a chance to explain the source of their wealth, they did not give a satisfactory explanation which left no doubt that the cash in the accounts and the assets are proceeds of crime.

After analysing Muthui’s accounts, the court was convinced that she received suspicious funds through a scheme of money laundering which are believed to be proceeds of crime and liable for forfeiture to the state.  

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THE European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) and Tracfin, France’s financial intelligence unit (FIU) have signed a Working Arrangement, establishing a structured framework for their cooperation.

by Vusumuzi Bhengu -

THE European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) and Tracfin, France’s financial intelligence unit (FIU) have signed a Working Arrangement, establishing a structured framework for their cooperation.

31 October 2023 | By Staff Repoter

Eppo and Tracfin signing ceremony

The arrangement aims to facilitate and foster the exchange of information on
suspicious financial transactions relating to facts and offences falling within the remit of the EPPO.

“It also underlines the efforts of both parties to make the fight against
money laundering, and the underlying offences that damage the financial interests of the European Union, as effective as possible,” Tracfin said in a statement.

The Working Arrangement was signed on 26 October in Luxembourg by Laura Codruța Kövesi, European Chief Prosecutor, and Guillaume Valette-Valla, Director of Tracfin.

Laura Codruța Kövesi, European Chief Prosecutor: “The EPPO needs information from financial intelligence units in order to combat fraud against the financial interests of the EU efficiently. Tracfin is a very important partner for the EPPO in this respect. This working arrangement opens the way for deepening our cooperation, and will facilitate the transmission of crime reports as well as the exchange of criminal analysis.”

Guillaume Valette-Valla, Director of Tracfin: “Tracfin’s first operational exchanges with the European Public Prosecutor’s Office began during 2022. This Working Arrangement will allow us to amplify them, in order to more effectively fight against the fraudsters and criminal networks that are undermining the foundations of the European project.”


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2022 Biggest Year Ever For Crypto Hacking with $3.8 Billion Stolen, Primarily from DeFi Protocols and by North Korea-linked Attackers

by Kudzai Chinoda -

2022 Biggest Year Ever For Crypto Hacking with $3.8 Billion Stolen, Primarily from DeFi Protocols and by North Korea-linked Attackers

February 1, 2023 | By Chainalysis Team

2022 was the biggest year ever for crypto hacking, with $3.8 billion stolen from cryptocurrency businesses.

Hacking activity ebbed and flowed throughout the year, with huge spikes in March and October, the latter of which became the biggest single month ever for cryptocurrency hacking, as $775.7 million was stolen in 32 separate attacks.

Below, we’ll dive into what kinds of platforms were most affected by hacks, and take a look at the role of North Korea-linked hackers, who drove much of 2022’s crypto hacking activity and shattered their own yearly record for most cryptocurrency stolen. 


DeFi protocols by far the biggest victims of cryptocurrency hacks

In last year’s Crypto Crime Report, we wrote about how decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols in 2021 became the primary target of crypto hackers. That trend intensified in 2022.

DeFi protocols as victims accounted for 82.1% of all cryptocurrency stolen by hackers — a total of $3.1 billion — up from 73.3% in 2021. And of that $3.1 billion, 64% came from cross-chain bridge protocols specifically. Cross-chain bridges are protocols that let users port their cryptocurrency from one blockchain to another, usually by locking the user’s assets into a smart contract on the original chain, and then minting equivalent assets on the second chain. Bridges are an attractive target for hackers because the smart contracts in effect become huge, centralized repositories of funds backing the assets that have been bridged to the new chain — a more desirable honeypot could scarcely be imagined. If a bridge gets big enough, any error in its underlying smart contract code or other potential weak spot is almost sure to eventually be found and exploited by bad actors. 

How do we make DeFi safer?

DeFi is one of the fastest-growing, most compelling areas of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, largely due to its transparency. All transactions happen on-chain, and the smart contract code governing DeFi protocols is publicly viewable by default, so users can know exactly what will happen to their funds when they use them. That’s especially attractive now in 2023, as many of the crypto market blowups of the past year were due to a lack of transparency into the actions and risk profiles of centralized cryptocurrency businesses. But that same transparency is also what makes DeFi so vulnerable — hackers can scan DeFi code for vulnerabilities and strike at the perfect time to maximize their theft.

DeFi code auditing conducted by third-party providers is one possible remedy to this. Blockchain cybersecurity firm Halborn is one such provider, and is notable for its clean track record — no DeFi protocol to pass a Halborn audit has subsequently been hacked. We spoke with Halborn COO David Schwed, whose background includes stints in risk and security at large banks like BNY Mellon, about how DeFi protocols can better protect themselves. He emphasized that many of the issues in DeFi come down to a lack of investment in security. “A big protocol should have 10 to 15 people on the security team, each with a specific area of expertise,” he told us. He indicated that the core issue is that DeFi developers prioritize growth over all else, and direct funds that could fund security measures to rewards in order to attract users. “The DeFi community generally isn’t demanding better security — they want to go to protocols with high yields. But those incentives lead to trouble down the road.” 

Schwed told us that DeFi developers should look to traditional financial institutions for examples of how to make their platforms more secure. “You don’t need to move as slow as a bank, but you can borrow from what banks do.” Some measures he recommends include:

  • Test protocols with simulated attacks. DeFi developers can simulate different hacking scenarios on testnets in order to test how their protocol stands up to the most common attack vectors.
  • Take advantage of crypto’s transparency. One huge advantage of a blockchain like Ethereum is that transactions are visible in the mempool before they’re confirmed on the blockchain. Schwed recommended that DeFi developers monitor the mempool closely for suspicious activity on their smart contracts to detect possible attacks as early as possible.
  • Circuit breakers. DeFi protocols should build out automated processes to pause their protocols and halt transactions if suspicious activity is detected. “It’s better to briefly inconvenience users than to have the entire protocol get drained,” said Schwed. 

Schwed also told us that regulators have a role to play here, and can help make DeFi safer by setting minimum security standards that protocol developers must follow. The data on DeFi hacks makes one thing clear: Whether achieved through regulation or voluntary adoption, DeFi protocols will greatly benefit from adopting better security in order for the ecosystem to grow, thrive, and eventually penetrate the mainstream. 

North Korea-linked hackers break theft records yet again: $1.7 billion stolen

North Korea-linked hackers such as those in cybercriminal syndicate Lazarus Group have been by far the most prolific cryptocurrency hackers over the last few years. In 2022, they shattered their own records for theft, stealing an estimated $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency across several hacks we’ve attributed to them. For context, North Korea’s total exports in 2020 totalled $142 million worth of goods, so it isn’t a stretch to say that cryptocurrency hacking is a sizable chunk of the nation’s economy. Most experts agree the North Korean government is using these stolen to fund its nuclear weapons programs

$1.1 billion of that total was stolen in hacks of DeFi protocols, making North Korea one of the driving forces behind the DeFi hacking trend that intensified in 2022. North Korea-linked hackers tend to send much of what they steal to other DeFi protocols, not because these protocols are effective for money laundering — they’re actually quite bad for money laundering given their increased transparency compared to centralized services — but rather because DeFi hacks often result in cybercriminals acquiring large quantities of illiquid tokens that aren’t listed at centralized exchanges. The hackers therefore must turn to other DeFi protocols, usually DEXes, to swap for more liquid assets.


Besides DeFi protocols, North Korea-linked hackers also tend to send large sums to mixers, which have typically been the cornerstone of their money laundering process. In fact, funds from hacks carried out by North Korea-linked hackers move to mixers at a much higher rate than funds stolen by other individuals or groups. But which mixers do they use? We’ll dig in below.

Meet the new mixer North Korean hackers have turned to following Tornado Cash’s OFAC designation

For much of 2021 and 2022, North Korea-linked hackers almost exclusively used Tornado Cash to launder cryptocurrency stolen in hacks. It’s not hard to see why — Tornado Cash was for a time the biggest mixer operating, and its unique technical attributes made the funds it mixed relatively difficult to trace.

However, the hackers adapted when Tornado Cash was sanctioned in August 2022. While North Korea-linked hackers have still sent some funds to Tornado Cash since then, we can see above that they diversified their mixer usage in Q4 2022, soon after the mixer’s designation. This may be due to the fact that, while still operational, Tornado Cash’s overall transaction volume has fallen since its designations, and mixers generally become less effective when fewer people are using them. Since then, the hackers have turned to another mixer, Sinbad, which we’ll look at in more detail below.


Sinbad is a relatively new custodial Bitcoin mixer that began advertising its services on the BitcoinTalk forum in October 2022. Chainalysis investigators first observed wallets belonging to North Korea-linked hackers sending funds to the service in December 2022, which we can see on the Chainalysis Reactor graph below.

As we’ve seen in many North Korea-directed hacks, the hackers bridge the stolen funds from the Ethereum blockchain — including a portion of the funds stolen in the Axie Infinity hack — to Bitcoin, then sending that Bitcoin to Sinbad. During December 2022 and January 2023, North Korea-linked hackers have sent a total of 1,429.6 Bitcoin worth approximately $24.2 million to the mixer. 

While North Korea-linked hackers are undoubtedly sophisticated and represent a significant threat to the cryptocurrency ecosystem, law enforcement and national security agencies’ ability to fight back is growing. Last year, for example, we saw the first ever seizure of funds stolen by North Korea-linked hackers, when agents recovered $30 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen in the Axie Infinity Ronin Bridge hack. We expect more such stories in the coming years, largely due to the transparency of the blockchain. When every transaction is recorded in a public ledger, it means that law enforcement always has a trail to follow, even years after the fact, which is invaluable as investigative techniques improve over time. Their growing capabilities, combined with the efforts of agencies like OFAC to cut off hackers’ preferred money laundering services from the rest of the crypto ecosystem, means that these hacks will get harder and less fruitful with each passing year.

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Wadyajena bought 25 trucks in US$5m Cottco scam, court hears

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Wadyajena bought 25 trucks in US$5m Cottco scam, court hears

Instead of importing the bales, Wadyajena and his colleagues allegedly imported 25 trucks from a USA company called Giant Equipment in 2019 and 2020.

By Staff Reporter  18 Aug 2022

HARARE – Justice Mayor Wadyajena, Zanu PF’s Gokwe Nembudziya MP and chairman of the parliamentary committee on agriculture, siphoned millions of dollars from the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe in an elaborate scam before buying 25 haulage trucks, a court heard on Wednesday.

The Lambourgini-pushing MP, who was arrested on Tuesday, was so frustrated when told his bail application would spill over to Thursday he offered to transport court officials to their homes if the hearing would continue well into the evening.

The offer was slapped down by magistrate Stanford Mambanje.

Wadyajena is charged with fraud and money laundering involving US$5 million together with four others and two companies, including his Mayor Logistics.

They are Pius Manamike, 54, who is Cottco managing director; Maxmore Njanji, 47, (head of marketing, operations, ginning and logistics), Fortunate Molai, 34, (Cottco acting procurement manager) and Chiedza Danha, 39, who is being charged in his personal capacity while also representing Pierpont Moncroix, which is jointly charged in the crime.

Mayor logistics is being represented by Wadyajena.

According to court papers, sometime in 2019, Wadyajena and his co-accused hatched a plan to defraud Cottco through fictitious purchase of goods purportedly for use by the company.

The allegedly went on to open a shelf company called Pierpont Moncroix which was later recommended by Molai to supply Cottco 3 million High Carbon Bale Ties valued at US$2,6 million to carter for the 2019 ginning season.

It is state’s case that the name of the company created by the accused was the same as that of a Mauritius company so as to mislead Cottco.

On March 14, 2019, the crew allegedly approved a fraudulent Purchase Order in favour of Pierpont Moncroix Mauritius valued at US$2 528 000 purporting that Pierpont Moncroix Mauritius was going to supply 3 200 000 bale ties to Cottco.

Instead of importing the bales, Wadyajena and his colleagues allegedly imported 25 trucks from a USA company called Giant Equipment in 2019 and 2020.

They allegedly went on and registered the trucks under Mayor Logistics.

In November 2019, Manamike and Njanji allegedly issued a second purchase order on behalf of the Cottco, which was valued at US$1 106 000 for the purchase of the bale ties from Giant Equipment company again.

The order was then approved even though Giant Equipment had failed to deliver the first order; no bales were also delivered as the money was allegedly transferred to Afrozurich International in a currency swap deal.

Later in November 2021, Molai allegedly sent an email to the Cottco’s treasurer in which she requested the company to pay a deposit of US$2 500 000 for the purchase of other bales from Energy Park Company.

On November 23 2021, US$363 900 being part of transfer to CBZ Energy Park Account of US$750 000 was later transferred to Maropafadzo Energy (Pvt) Ltd Ecobank account and US$421 000 was transferred to Energy Park Bulk Fuels (Pvt) Ltd the following day.

On March 8 2022 and March 14 this year, two further payments were allegedly processed from Cottco’s CABS Account of US$450 000 and US$1 000 000 to Maropafadzo Energy company as requested by the supplier.

The court papers state that a total of US$2 200 000 was paid against the order of US$4 578 078.

Court also heard that investigations proved that Energy Park (Pvt) Ltd is in the fuel industry and sells fuel in bulk and direct to retailers and not bale ties.

It is alleged that payments to Maropafadzo Energy being part of the order for bale ties were further transferred into various accounts of individuals and corporates both local and international for procurement of services which have nothing to do with the purpose for which the funds were transferred at Cottco.

Following the court appearance Wednesday, Wadyajena and his co-accused were sent to Remand prison awaiting bail hearing finalisation this Thursday.

The group also faces money laundering charges involving US$5 million.

They appeared before Harare magistrate seeking bail with prosecutors opposing on grounds that evidence against them was so overwhelming that they may consider both skipping bail and interfere with witnesses in their matter

The Investigating Officer in the case, Authur Murambiza said they have paper trail confirming the offences.

“During the investigations, we gathered overwhelming evidence against the accused and the likelihood of a conviction is there, which might cause them to abscond of granted bail.

“As of this moment, we have documentary exhibits which include email instructions, proof of payments and bank statements.

“We also have identified which could be proceeds of the offence,” he told court.

The IO also said they were yet to get the addresses for other suspects in the matter.

He also said Danha has a company in Mauritius.

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Former Mozambican president takes the stand

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Former Mozambican president takes the stand

For 10 years, from the beginning 2005 until the end of 2014, Armando Guebuza was the most powerful man in Mozambique. He controlled the levers of power as president of both the republic and of the governing Frelimo party.

But for two days, more than a week ago, Guebuza was treated like an ordinary citizen and subjected to gruelling questioning in a courtroom in Maputo. He was forced to explain his role in the $2.2-billion “hidden debt” scandal that plunged the country into a severe financial crisis — and took place under his watch.

Although his appearance may, for some, have dented the former president’s reputation, it was also an opportunity for him to address the Mozambican public — and to attack his successor, Filipe Nyusi.

And as Frelimo gears up for a congress in September to choose Nyusi’s successor, this battle between the party’s two biggest beasts has a significance beyond the corruption trial itself.

A fishy business

Guebuza was the last of 67 witnesses called by the attorney general’s office to testify at the televised hearings. For the past six months, the court — sitting in a tent in the courtyard of a maximum-security prison outside the capital, Maputo — has heard evidence that has implicated his inner circle in serious financial irregularities.

Although the former president has not himself been prosecuted, the accused include his private secretary and his chief political advisor, as well as his son, Ndambi. The defendants have been charged with assorted crimes including money-laundering, forgery, embezzlement, blackmail, criminal association and influence peddling.

The accusations centre around $2.2-billion that was borrowed by companies set up by the Mozambican intelligence service, backed by state guarantees. Infamously, some of this money was used to purchase tuna fishing boats that were allegedly vastly overpriced and unfit for purpose, and are currently rusting — unused — in Maputo’s harbour.

Under Mozambican law, debts of that size should never have been taken on without the approval of parliament and the administrative court. But parliament was never consulted, until after the scandal broke when it retroactively approved the loans.

In 2019, under pressure from civil society, the Constitutional Council ended up declaring the debts null and void. Mozambique has refused to honour two of the loans, but is slowly repaying one of them, which was worth $850-million, but will cost the country as much as $2.4-billion by the time it is paid off.

The man who signed the guarantees, the then finance minister Manuel Chang, has been languishing in a South African prison since December 2018, stuck in an extradition tug-of-war between Mozambique and the US.

Credit Suisse, the bank that financed part of the fraudulent deal, was fined $547-million by regulators in the US and UK. But no one has yet been brought to justice in Mozambique. And Guebuza, in his testimony, did his best to convince prosecutors – and the Mozambican public – that his hands are clean.

Passing the buck

Although Guebuza accepted responsibility for creating the companies in question, he pointed the finger of blame for the fraudulent activity at none other than Nyusi, who was his minister of defence at the time, and who chaired a group of senior officials that Guebuza set up and, he says, put in charge of the project.

“I trusted them. I delegated because I trusted the people I was working with,” Guebuza told the court.

But Nyusi has denied any involvement. Nyusi’s testimony, given to state prosecutors in 2018 and read aloud by the judge in court on Friday, said that he knew nothing about the dodgy companies at the heart of the scandal — and found out about their existence only when the scandal broke in 2016. Video footage currently doing the rounds in Mozambique casts doubt on this account, because it shows Nyusi discussing them in 2014 and 2015.

The two presidents’ contradictory accounts will make it difficult for prosecutors and judges to get to the bottom of what happened. But they may not be the final arbiters. Instead, all eyes turn now to the Frelimo party congress in September, at which Nyusi and Guebuza are vying to have the final say on who will be the candidate to succeed as president. They will each be hoping that their favoured candidate wins the nomination — and can keep them out of jail.

This article first appeared in The Continent, the award-winning pan-African weekly newspaper designed to be read and shared on WhatsApp. Download your free copy here

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South Africa's North West Province: The pathology of a corrupt province

by Kudzai Chinoda -

South Africa's North West Province: The pathology of a corrupt province

The NPA has begun compiling a series of provincial corruption snapshots to demonstrate the work that is being done to hold criminals to account. In the first, the acting Director of Public Prosecutions in North West province looks at progress being made in cracking down on corruption there.

North West is one of the provinces hardest hit by public sector corruption.

This led to President Cyril Ramaphosa in May 2018 invoking Section 100 of the Constitution and establishing an inter-ministerial task team to intervene in the governance processes of the province. Section 100 provides that “when a province cannot or does not fulfil an executive obligation in terms of the Constitution or legislation, the national executive may intervene by taking any appropriate steps to ensure fulfilment of that obligation”.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s North West division was previously understaffed and did not have the specialist skills necessary until additional capacity for the Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit (SCCU) and the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) was appointed permanently from March 2020, to deal effectively with these cases.

The province is now the focus of more than 50 criminal cases involving the theft of public money. There are 17 cases currently enrolled in court, involving 19 people — including a former head of department, three former municipal managers and a mayor. The cases relate to public funds amounting to R53.5-million, and most of the charges relate to fraud and corruption.

Thirteen of the cases have already been finalised by the NPA, resulting in five convictions on charges relating to more than R2-billion. There have been two acquittals and eight cases have been withdrawn.

Two cases are currently being assessed for prosecution, and 19 are with the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation for further investigation.

Even a cursory examination of the cases currently before the courts shows a breathtaking scale of corruption has taken place in almost every part of the province — in Ventersdorp, Wolmaransstad (two), Orkney (two), Rustenburg, Makapanstad, Zeerust, Mmabatho, Setlagole, Potchefstroom, Christiana and Taung.

The 19 cases currently under investigation show startling levels of corruption around the provision of basic public services such as housing, healthcare centres and roads in a province that has shown a desperate need for basic infrastructure.

These include allegations that:

  • The former HOD of Public Works colluded with four district directors and the CFO of the Department of Public Works to award a tender to construct roads without following tender procedures in Bojanala, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, Ngaka Modiri Molema and Kenneth Kaunda districts. The majority of the road construction projects were not completed and investigations are ongoing in the limited projects where the construction of roads was undertaken.
  • In Brits, the provincial department of health allegedly unlawfully appointed service providers for the upgrading of the local hospital. The upgrading of the hospital was partially completed by the appointed service providers and a new contractor had to be appointed to do remedial work.
  • In Rustenburg, CMS Water Engineering was allegedly appointed fraudulently without following procurement processes and procedures. The tender was for the upgrading and extension of Bospoort Water Treatment Works in Rustenburg. The company also allegedly falsely invoiced the municipality for the delivery of goods to be used in the said upgrading and extension. The upgrading and extension of the waterworks have not yet commenced.
  • In Mahikeng, the former MEC of Public Works is under investigation for alleged misrepresentation for signing housing documents pretending to be the MEC of Local Government and Human Settlements. The documents were used to allegedly unlawfully register non-deserving beneficiaries of government houses.
  • In Mmabatho, the provincial health department allegedly colluded with Raliform Investment and Mr Property to inflate the prices of medical equipment at Vryburg and Brits Hospital. In some cases, payment was allegedly made without services rendered and some equipment was not delivered.
  • Also in Mmabatho, Public Works Road and Transport officials allegedly colluded with service providers around the irregular appointment of 150 scholar transport service providers. Alleged false or inflated claims for the transport of scholars form part of the investigation. A second case, involving a different scholar patrol contract, is also under investigation.
  • In Mogwase, there was alleged collusion with unnamed mining companies by the traditional leader and/or council of the Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela tribe, which led to the misappropriation of tribal funds.
  • A company named Ayama Consulting was allegedly irregularly appointed by the Department of Public Works to build roads across the province in a tender valued at R103-million. Furthermore, the issue currently under investigation is the extent to which the service provider has done work on the project.
  • Big Time Strategies was appointed and paid to provide IT services to Mogwase municipality but was paid for services allegedly not rendered. It has been established that the company was appointed unlawfully without going through proper processes.

The NPA has taken note of some criticism that the SAPS and NPA have been lax in investigating and prosecuting contraventions of the Municipal Finance Management Act. It is important to highlight that some of the cases currently being pursued — including a fraud case in Orkney, which has been remanded for pre-trial conference, and a matter against the former municipal manager of the Rustenburg Municipality which relates to irregular expenditure for the provision of alternative energy to indigent households — are taking place in terms of alleged transgressions of this Act. The latter case has been remanded to 4 April for trial.

Money laundering

One of the most high-profile cases in the province was referred to in the second report of the Zondo Commission on State Capture last month: a contract with SA Express that didn’t go through a competitive tender process.

The contract was for the rehabilitation and reintroduction of flights at Mahikeng and Pilanesberg airports. The money was allegedly paid to SA Express through a money-laundering scheme involving a number of bogus entities.

Another case already in the public domain involves the Social Housing Regulatory Authority (SHRA) and a Restructuring Capital Grant for a project to build 2,400 housing units in Mahikeng — using money that had been redirected to SHRA from the Eastern Cape and Free State Departments of Human Settlements. The construction of the said housing units has only been partially completed by the contractor.

Significant amounts of public money were involved in a number of cases — for example, a case in Mmabatho where a company was appointed as an implementing agent for the North West Department of Rural Environment and Agricultural Development. The company was allegedly paid a total of R604-million despite a number of procurement irregularities. The said funds were supposed to have been paid in respect of various farm infrastructure and agricultural projects. The extent to which these goods and services were delivered, as well as alleged double payments to service providers, is under investigation.

Sound depressing? There is some light at the end of the tunnel — in particular, in some of the 13 cases that have been finalised by the NPA and the DPCI.

In Bloemhof, for example, the owner of an auction company was jailed for five years for auctioning obsolete municipal assets and not paying the proceeds over to the municipality. Another auctioneer was given a three-year sentence (suspended for five years) for doing a similar thing in Mmabatho with property belonging to Botshelo Water.

In Klerksdorp, an employee of Matlosana Local Municipality was sentenced to a R50,000 fine, or three years’ imprisonment, for misappropriating almost R70,000 intended for volunteers working in the municipality’s Indigent Unit. The employee issued stipends on their behalf and then demanded that some of the money be paid back into a personal account.

Similarly, an employee in Rustenburg Municipality’s salaries department connived with colleagues to issue “acting allowances”, which would then be shared with the salary department staff. One of the employees was given a 10-year sentence, of which five years were suspended.

In Vryburg, R454,000 was recovered from the former municipal manager of Naledi Local Municipality after a service provider was paid, despite not building the required 3,000 low-cost houses. The accused was sentenced to an effective eight years in prison, and charges are being assessed against the service provider, Khasu Engineering.

Corruption is killing South Africa.

It literally kills people because basic services are not provided to the poor and vulnerable. And it kills the rule of law and the social contract. It must become the exception, not the norm. This applies to not just the high-level type detailed in Zondo reports, but also the local-level variant that deprives our citizens of basic services and destroys their faith in governance.

The North West cases are sad examples of both.

Fortunately, steady progress is being made by the DPCI and the NPA in restoring the rule of law and ensuring that justice is served for the communities at grassroots level.

This is an important step towards reclaiming our country from the grip of corrupt capture at all levels. DM

Dr Rachel Makhari-Sekhaolelo is acting Director of Public Prosecutions, North West Division

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by Kudzai Chinoda -

through our project "Countering Illicit Financial Flows by Strengthening Law Enforcement for Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Southern Africa (ARINSA)". A regional approach has been taken with various e-learnings and online webinars .

Experts will be invited to do the live online interactive sessions where the knowledge and skills obtained from the self-paced modules are further strengthened and enhanced. Participants have an opportunity to clarify and ask questions during the live sessions and through discussion forums. In order to facilitate as many participants as possible, the online sessions are recorded and accessible until the module is closed.

UNODC kindly requests all contact points, heads of departments and colleagues to spread this invitation as widely as possible to all relevant stakeholder institutions involved in asset forfeiture, the investigation and prosecution of  money laundering and other financial crimes  space and all other institutions that are linked to money laundering and financial crimes to avail themselves to take these courses. and instructions to follow ).

) Please Note that: Yahoo email addresses are blocking emails from our system therefore use alternative email addresses. 

,  for authentication and validation. Kindly note that all fields marked in RED on the ARINSA new account creation form are mandatory and the system will not accept your registration unless you complete them.  

 Enrolment on the Courses

The deadlines for the online the AAMLC and JAMLC will be 30 July 2021 and 06 August 2021 for the AMLC and FISZC. No participants can be enrolled after this date.

Please note that participants can start registering and enrolling themselves for all e-courses as of today Monday, July 12th, 2021.

We hope that you will find this to be worthwhile and enriching to your careers as well as of those of the others.


All the best and let us keep safe.

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Illicit enrichment

by Kudzai Chinoda -

Gretta Fenner, the MD of the Basel Institute on Governance sends you her warm regards and also the exciting news that they have just published an open-access book on illicit enrichment.


Illicit Enrichment: A Guide to Laws Targeting Unexplained Wealth is a comprehensive guide to illicit enrichment laws and their application to target unexplained wealth and recover proceeds of corruption and other crimes. 


The book is written by Andrew Dornbierer, Asset Recovery Specialist at our International Centre for Asset Recovery, and available for free online at along with a database of laws and additional resources. Printed copies are available at cost price via Amazon.


Here is the news and here is the free online version on our Basel LEARN platform. We have shared it via LinkedIn and Twitter. A flyer is attached.


Would you Kindly share the news with other members of the ARINSA network? 


Perhaps you and other members will also be interested in attending our public webinar on illicit enrichment. It would be fantastic if you could circulate that at the same time, if possible.


Do let me or Andrew know if you have any questions or ideas.


Kind regards


JP Willemse

Senior Financial Investigation Specialist

International Centre for Asset Recovery


C/o Anti-Corruption Bureau

Mulanje House



Email :


(Edited by Cephas Pahla - original submission Friday, 11 June 2021, 2:28 AM)

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