Cederberg municipal manager on R20,000 bail after 'interfering in SIU probe'
Cederberg municipal manager Henry Slimmert was released on R20,00 bail on Monday under strict conditions, including that he provide codes and pin numbers of all the computers and cellphones that were confiscated from his office.
He appeared at the Clanwilliam magistrate's court after his arrest on Wednesday.
He was arrested by the Hawks on allegations that interfered with a Special Investigations Unit’s investigation by instructing officials in his office to not co-operate with investigators.
NPA Western Cape spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said Slimmert stood accused of instructing officials to not furnish information to SIU officials during a raid related to PPE corruption at the municipality, and said they should not allow them to enter municipal offices — thus preventing them from executing a search and seizure warrant.
SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago said the SIU laid a criminal charge of interfering with an SIU investigation.
According to Kganyago, the SIU raided the Cederberg municipality offices in September in line with the proclamation signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa authorising the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption and maladministration in the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for Covid-19 in government institutions and entities of the state.
“On top of instructing employees not to co-operate, the municipality took the SIU to court claiming the unit had raided municipal offices unlawfully and without proclamation. It later withdrew the court challenge,” Kganyago said.
As part of his bail conditions, Slimmert was ordered to:
- Sign twice a week (Monday and Friday) at a police station
- Hand all his passports to the investigating officer
- Always be available to a police sergeant
- Not interfere directly or indirectly with the investigation regarding the obstruction of and defeating the ends of justice and the PPE investigation
- Not intimidate directly or indirectly municipal employees
- Not withhold documents in possession of the municipality which form part of the SIU investigation and matters before the court
- Not communicate with municipal employees pertaining to the SIU investigation and matter before court
- Appoint an official who will communicate directly and indirectly with employees of Cederberg municipality to carry out any or all official municipal duties and functions on all matters relating to the SIU investigation
Kganyago said the arrest and subsequent court appearance of Slimmert should send a clear message to all public representatives and public servants that any action that is aimed at interfering or obstructing the SIU will have severe consequences.