GEORGE NEWS - The former George Hospital supply chain management employee, Jacobus Claassen (63) who facilitated tender corruption and fraud of approximately R4-million, agreed to a plea and sentence agreement before he was sentenced on 1 September.
According to the charge sheet Claassen colluded with Wendell Louw (45) and others who allegedly registered various companies in their own names and those of family members to manipulate tender processes between February and December 2011.
Claassen pleaded guilty on all 82 charges of fraud and one charge of corruption.
His co-accused, who are being tried separately, will again appear in the George Regional Court on 21 May 2021.
Plea and sentence agreement
After consultation with the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Frank Tolken; the complainant, George Hospital CEO Michael Vonk; the Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate WJ Downer; and the Public Prosecutor Advocate Denzil Combrink, accepted Claassen's plea and sentence agreement after Downer authorised a deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence.
One of the conditions of his 10-year prison sentence suspended for five years was that Claassen will testify truthfully as per his affidavit signed and dated 1 September 2020 as a state witness against Wendell Jonathan Louw and/or Jacinda Alarice Louw and any other persons or entities relating to fraud, money laundering, forgery, corruption and/or any other offence. He also received a wholly suspended sentence of five years on condition that he is not found guilty of a similar charge and has been placed under correctional supervision for the next three years.
In his guilty plea Claassen, whose duties included the overseeing and management of procurement processes, including supply chain management, admitted that he manipulated and departed from the policies and procedures during the procurement of services and goods from outside service providers by favouring companies and family members of his co-accused, Louw.
The court heard how Claassen was controlled by Louw whom he regularly met to concoct lies and reasons why other companies and suppliers should not receive tenders. For this Claassen was paid R15 000 and two table tops valued at R1 000.
He admitted that he was approached by Louw about 11 or 12 years ago and asked about the procurement process. According to Claassen, Louw told him to ensure that one of his companies - Commercial Ent CC, Black Power, Imvusa Trading CC, WJ Medical Suppliers and WB Enterprise - get selected as supplier when Claassen was dealing with quotes and applications.
Claassen was represented by Winston Jansen of Winston Jansen Attorneys and the prosecutor was Advocate Denzil Combrink.
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