Retired works official in court over corrupt tender

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek-A retired senior official at the Ministry of Works and Transport made his appearance in Windhoek magistrate’s court on charges of alleged corruption.

Johannes Diergaardt, 62, who worked at the ministry as a senior works inspector and his co-accused Steven Komalian Mentjies, 37, were arrested last week on five charges, ranging from corruptly use office or position for gratification, conspiring to commit corruption and fraud.

All the charges are in connection to the N$270,000 construction tender that was awarded between the periods of December 2013 to February 2014.

The pair were granted bail of N$5,000 each during their first appearance and are expected to make an appearance in Grootfontein Regional Court after their case was transferred there.

Diergaardt and his partner were arrested following an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) into suspected corrupt practices around the construction of the sewerage drain at Maroelaboom Police Station in Grootfontein.

It is alleged Diergaardt while employed at the said ministry at the time used his position and office for the said tender to be awarded to Steven Renovations, a company owned by Mentjies, a sole proprietorship company in which Diergaardt allegedly had an interest.

Diergaardt drafted the bill of quantities for the project in the amount of N$277,206. 53. During the same period Diergaardt decided to go on leave at the time when the construction work was in motion.
During the said period, he signed off on the works as if it was correctly done. It is further alleged that through inflated invoices the ministry paid for work that was never performed.

Following investigations into the case it was found that the total valued of the construction work performed amounted to only N$250,576. 41 and not N$277,206-53.

The duo’s charge sheet indicated that the ministry lost N$ 26 630.12 as a result of the alleged deception. The pair is expected to make their next appearance in in court on August 8.

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