The frenzy fuelled by a narrative printed by Impartial On-line final week that Ace Magashule was to be arrested was the proper metaphor for the latest array of high-profile arrests within the nation.
The Directorate for Specialised Prison Investigations, higher often called the Hawks, and the Nationwide Prosecuting Authority (NPA) flexed muscle with arrests, hundreds of thousands of rands in seized belongings, and a big corruption conviction secured on Wednesday.
The often unflappable Magashule has purpose to be jittery as a result of greater than R1-billion price of alleged fraud, corruption and cash laundering costs at the moment earlier than the courts occurred within the Free State, as soon as Ace’s fiefdom.
He was the premier, from 2009 to 2018, when R756-million price of contracts have been awarded to Superior High quality Buying and selling from 2012 to 2016. It’s alleged that bribes have been paid to Seipati Dhlamini, the chief monetary officer beneath the then MEC for agriculture, Mosebenzi Zwane. (Zwane has appeared earlier than the Zondo inquiry into state seize for a housing undertaking when he was MEC for human settlements.)
In response to the cost sheet for Dhlamini and 6 others who’re accused of receiving bribes to grant profitable tenders Superior High quality, together with the contentious R245-million Ilima Tasks in 2014 to uplift 100 black farmers within the Free State.
The Estina dairy farm close to Vrede was a part of this so-called upliftment scheme, the place black farmers have been allegedly swindled out of their livelihoods by an organization that, in keeping with the cost sheet, submitted fraudulent black financial empowerment paperwork, and didn’t hassle to even attend tender briefings.
Then there may be the R255-million contract for the “evaluation and removing of asbestos roofs and/or housing”. The Asset Forfeiture Unit has seized R300-million price of belongings from the seven accused.
In response to the cost sheet, businessman and ANC benefactor Edwin Sodi, one of many accused whose luxurious automobiles have been seized, did solely R20-million price of labor however his firm was paid R230-million.
Sodi, astonishingly, is suing the Free State authorities for the remaining R25-million that he feels is because of him.
The Superior High quality Buying and selling, which embrace the Estina dairy, and housing contract instances type a part of the NPA’s “prosecutor-driven investigations”, which ensures that instances are prepared for trial by the point suspects make their first appearances in courtroom.
VBS Mutual Financial institution
On Wednesday, the NPA secured its first scalp when fraudster Phillip Truter, the previous chief monetary officer of the defunct VBS Mutual Financial institution, pleaded responsible to fraud, corruption, racketeering and cash laundering costs and was sentenced to seven years.
The true coup for the NPA is that Truter agreed to spill the beans on the seven different suspects within the alleged R2.Three-billion looting of the financial institution.
In his plea settlement, which the Mail & Guardian is in possession of, Truter laid naked the scheme that they devised to falsify their monetary data ending March 2017 in order that they may plunder the financial institution.
“The assertion of the monetary place within the annual monetary statements was false within the following materials respects: the asset described as ‘money and money equivalents’ within the sum of R802 427 245 was falsely inflated by an quantity of R690 326 847.
“The asset described as ‘loans and advances’ within the sum of R1 081 831 081 was falsely inflated by an quantity of R351 956 095. The legal responsibility described as ‘quantities owed to depositors’ within the sum of R1 553 659 282 was falsely inflated by an quantity of R261 308 970,” the plea settlement learn.
“The fairness described as ‘everlasting interest-bearing shares’ within the sum of R150 473 996 was falsely inflated by an quantity of R89 044 352.
“The true monetary place of VBS as at 31 March 2017 was as follows: its whole belongings amounted to R1 037 194 164, whereas the annual monetary statements mirrored its whole belongings as R2 102 039 406.”
In KwaZulu-Natal, former provincial police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni, her subordinate Colonel Navin Madhoe, and businessman Thoshan Panday, an ally of former president Jacob Zuma, appeared in courtroom final week over allegations associated to a R47-million 2010 Fifa World Cup police accommodation tender.
However the true litmus take a look at for the NPA will probably be subsequent month, when former nationwide police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and a string of high cops go on trial for 329 counts of fraud, aiding one other to profit from the proceeds of illegal actions, acquisition or possession or use of proceeds of illegal actions and the contravention of the Public Finance Administration Act.
This pertains to the R191-million tender to suit Gauteng police automobiles with tools that included radios and sirens.
Final week, a well-placed supply informed the Mail & Guardian that extra arrests can be made this month earlier than the Phahlane trial kicks off.
On Monday, the primary of those arrests materialised when deputy nationwide commissioner Lieutenant Basic Bonang Mgwenya was arrested and added to the “blue-lights tender”.
The South African Police Union (Sapu) has referred to as on the nationwide commissioner, Basic Khehla Sitole, to behave decisively in opposition to the official.
“Sapu has beforehand witnessed with dismay junior officers swiftly suspended and dismissed for petty offences whereas senior officers suspected of significant offences have been protected or suspended with full advantages for an limitless time period,” the union’s appearing common secretary, Peter Ntsime, stated in a press release.
“Sapu isn’t asking for any favours or preferential therapy for the deputy nationwide commissioner, however for consistency and equity and that the SAPS will comply with its personal disciplinary process.”
How the NPA and its crack corruption-busting unit, the Investigating Directorate, fares within the Phahlane matter will point out the power of its probes. This excessive profile arrest is an efficient begin.