Africa

Former KZN head of Treasury ordered to start 15-year prison sentence for fraud, corruption

The Pietermaritzburg High Court has ordered the former head of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Treasury, Sipho Shabalala, to start serving his effective 15-year prison sentence for fraud and corruption.

56-year-old Shabalala was sentenced last week in connection with an irregular contract to buy 22 water purification plants for rural areas from Uruguay businessman, Gaston Savoi, at the inflated price of R44 million in 2006.

The court found that Shabalala received R1.5 million from Savoi –  whose company received the contract after normal procurement processes were circumvented.

Money was transferred from a poverty alleviation fund

The court heard that money was transferred from a poverty alleviation fund to pay for the plants, which are not in use due to high maintenance costs.

Judge Dhaya Pillay dismissed Shabalala’s application for leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Natasha Ramkisson-Kara says Shabalala also applied for an extension of his R100 000 bail.

“However, following refusal of the application for leave to appeal, Shabalala’s bail was cancelled and he will have to start serving his sentence,” says Ramkisson-Kara.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in KZN welcomed the court’s findings in refusing this application.

“This is evidence that KZN is making strides in our fight against corruption. We will continue with our mandate of rooting out corruption, especially in the government sector,” says Ramkisson-Kara.

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