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Johannesburg - Fraud accused and former National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) head Andile Lungisa fired a salvo at Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula - accusing him of interfering with the judiciary and micro-managing the police.
Lungisa lambasted Mbalula after he, his wife, Ursula Sali, Thabo Shogola and Xolisile Guqaza appeared before magistrate Jeremy van Vuuren in a trial relating to R2.5 million that was paid to them by the Department of Arts and Culture for the Nelson Mandela Sports Day Concert in August.
He was speaking outside the court after he and his co-accused had received bail on charges of fraud and money laundering at the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court.
“This minister likes the American artists, it’s the minister who brought his girlfriend Brandy (US singer) to the biggest event of Nelson Mandela (Sports Day)... he brought his own friends and he goes and raises money from private individuals,” he said.
While he would not discuss the merits of the case against him, he suggested that the minister had sat with prosecutors and police and discussed the bail conditions of the accused.
Lungisa said Mbalula had a personal vendetta against him dating back to when he (Lungisa) opposed his election as ANC secretary-general.
The charges against Lungisa and his co-accused relate to the performance of international R&B singer R Kelly who was in the country in August for Women’s Day concerts. It was believed that R Kelly would also perform at the Nelson Mandela Sports Day Concert but this didn’t happen.
Lungisa and Shogola were granted R10 000 bail each and Guqaza R5 000 on condition they hand over their passports and do not interfere with State witnesses. Lungisa’s wife, also the mother of his two sons, was released on a warning.
The State accuses the four of having solicited money after Lungisa, through his company Makhanda Music Enterprises, approached the department and claimed he had secured a performance by Kelly for the concert for R2.5m.
Prosecutor Ronel Dookun said the money was paid to Shogola’s company who transferred it to Guqaza. Guqaza is said to have transferred it into Sali’s personal account and it was distributed among the individuals.
Dookun said it also emerged that fraudulent documents were given to the department.
But Lungisa claims he was not involved and had never signed any agreement with the department.
Mbalula’s spokesman, Paena Galane, said Lungisa was talking nonsense.
Chrystal View Promotions, an agent commissioned by the department to pay R Kelly, declined to comment.
Meanwhile the spokesman for Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile, Mogomotsi Mogodiri, said in the light of all that had happened, the ministry would be more vigilant going forward.
Asked why the department had not verified the credentials of companies, Mogodiri replied: “At that time we had no reason to doubt anyone’s credibility. But in future we will make sure our screening processes are more rigorous.”
Last night Mashatile welcomed the arrests.
The matter has been postponed to October 30.
ANC Youth League task team spokesman Bandile Masuku declined to comment on the matter. – Additional reporting by Craig Dodds