The arrest of a state lawyer implicated in a fraudulent scheme that inflated prices for services rendered to the government, has been hailed as a positive step towards fighting corruption at the highest levels.
The Hawks swooped on Advocate Hassan Ebrahim Kajee over the weekend, placed him under arrest and took him into custody.
Kajee slept in police holding cells until Monday morning when he appeared in the Johannesburg Regional Court, where he was not asked to plead to various counts of fraud.He was released on R20 000 bail following a referral by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU), and will make his second appearance in the same court on May 25. The investigation by the Hawks continues. “The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was mandated to investigate certain allegations in respect of the affairs of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development in so far as it relates to the Office of the State Attorney.
“The Office of the State Attorney often appoints counsel to represent matters on behalf of various state institutions. Kajee was appointed on various matters to represent the state.”His arrest follows an Special Investigating Unit (SIU) investigation, which revealed that Adv. Kajee inflated invoices, invoiced for services not actually rendered and overcharged for alleged services rendered,” said SIU spokesperson Kaizer Kganyago.
Kganyago said their investigation into Kajee further revealed that he billed for more hours than he had actually worked. “He also invoiced for work on different matters simultaneously. In line with the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunals Act 74 of 1996, the SIU referred evidence pointing to criminal conduct to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for further action which resulted in the arrest,” he said.
The SIU is also pursuing a civil case against Kajee in the Special Tribunal to allow them to recoup about R27 million that the state lost due to the alleged fraud.”(We seek) to recover approximately R27 million for damages the State suffered, because of the alleged corrupt and collusive relationship between the former head of the Office of the State Attorney, Johannesburg, Mr Gustav Lekabe and Kajee.
“Mr. Lekabe is alleged to have briefed Adv. Kajee as counsel for the State in a plethora of matters in which the applicant charged for legal fees not actually rendered, doubled-charged for similar work done in a specific matter and double invoiced the Office of the State Attorney,” said Kganyago.