An engineer from Johannesburg Water, Faisel Abrahams and two employees from Waterfall Investment Company, including a project manager Irvine Steyn and a credit and rates controller Yvette Scheepers, were arrested for illegally obtaining water metres and stealing water worth millions of rands.
Abrahams was arrested on 26 May and appeared before the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 28 May. His co-accused, Steyn and Scheepers were arrested at their workplace on 30 May and were detained at the Johannesburg Central Police Station.
They appeared before the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 31 May.
All suspects face charges of fraud and corruption. They were granted R 5 000 bail each and are expected to appear before the court again on 19 July.
The arrests follow after an investigation by the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Services Unit and Operation Buya Mthetho which discovered that instead of applying for a bulk water meter which costs R140 000, the Midrand based company allegedly obtained water metes illegally from Abrahams and used them during construction at Waterfall City. The metres used were not registered on the City’s billing system.
“It is unfortunate that some developers have found ways to engage in irregular practices which seek to circumvent due process and end with massive revenue leakages for the City,” said City of Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.
He added that the City loses between R5-billion and R8-billion annually due to revenue leakages and accounts being deleted off the billing system.
The Operation Buya Mthetho team is currently conducting an audit of all the water meters installed at Waterfall City and to establish the total water consumption by Waterfall Investment Company.
“The City, working with all state enforcement agencies, will not leave any stone unturned when dealing with criminal activities within our area of jurisdiction. I hope that the residents of Johannesburg will support our Operation Buya Mthetho initiative and report crime and criminals to our authorities,” added Mashaba.
Chief Executive Officer for Waterfall Investment Company, Willie Vos, said the company was not aware of the allegations and have appointed an internal forensic investigation team to probe the matter.
“This is a very regrettable matter. We have begun with our investigation and both employees are cooperating. As soon as we are clear about the facts we will work with the authorities and give a report back to the community,” he said.
Both Steyn and Scheepers are currently on special leave pending investigation.
What repercussions should be put in place to ensure developers play by the book? @MidrandReporter