Abalone. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Abalone. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

The fisheries department’s finance chief and three other officials could face criminal charges of fraud and corruption after a forensic investigation into a R45m contract.

The investigation was commissioned in 2017 by Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana after red flags were raised about the appointment of fish-processing company Willjaro to sell 90 tonnes of abalone‚ confiscated from poachers‚ to buyers in China.

The report of the investigation‚ seen by Times Select‚ also makes critical findings about Willjaro. The company — whose contract was subsequently suspended following lengthy court case — responded by accusing the investigative outfit that compiled the report‚ The iFirm‚ of conducting a smear campaign.

The report was submitted on May 31 2017‚ and Zokwana said that, based on its recommendations, he had appointed lawyers to draft charges against implicated officials.

For more on this story‚ please visit Times Select.