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Pretoria - North West Local Government MEC and ANC deputy chairman in the province China Dodovu made startling claims on Wednesday, saying he had been implicated in the Aubuti Chika murder because he was investigating corruption involving millions in the Matlosana Municipality.
Dodovu said in an affidavit submitted to the Klerksdorp Magistrate’s Court, where he was appearing on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder, that he had been warned the week before that his arrest was imminent if he did not drop the investigation.
Dodovu was arrested on Monday as the eighth suspect in the murder of Chika, the ANC regional secretary in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda region.
Chika was shot dead two days before the ANC national conference in Mangaung last year.
Dodovu said while performing his duties as MEC he was concerned when he discovered that Eskom had threatened to cut off the electricity supply to the Matlosana Municipality in March this year as it owed the power utility more than R169 million.
He then looked into the accounts and discovered that in 2010 R40m had been withdrawn from the municipality’s investment account in September, R33m in October and R30m in November. Further amounts, with the highest being R60m in April 2011, had been withdrawn from the investment account in the months that followed without any explanation of why they had been withdrawn or what they had been used for.
The unexplained withdrawals from the investment account came to more than R256m, Dodovu said.
He said he met the mayor and other employees of Matlosana last week to inform them of his intention to appoint a forensic investigator to probe the financial affairs of the municipality.
He was also due to inform North West Premier Thandi Modise about the situation, but was arrested on Monday before he could meet her.
Among the allegations the State is expected to make against Dodovu is that he attended a meeting at which the plot to kill Chika was devised.
Dodovu said on Wednesday he would prove and possibly call witnesses to testify about his whereabouts on the day of the alleged meeting.
That day he was at a meeting of the provincial executive committee - of which he is deputy chairman - in Mahikeng, a function of traditional leaders and a nightclub, he said.
The Hawks poured scorn on Wednesday on Dodovu’s suggestion that there were other motives for his arrest, saying they were not involved in political issues.
“We investigate and charge suspects based on the evidence against them, nothing else. We have strong evidence that has led to (Dodovu) being a suspect. Regardless of what he says, we are convinced that he shares a motive with the other suspects and we are confident of a conviction,” Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramoloko said.
“The rest of the information will come out as the case unfolds.”
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Medupe Simasiku also dismissed Dodovu’s claims, saying there was a watertight case.
“This is the first time we hear about these allegations in his affidavit. We prosecute on evidence we have,” Simasiku said.
“We prosecute those committing crime and this is why we are prosecuting him. As for his allegations, he can report those to the police.”
Dodovu and his co-accused on tuesday made their bail applications. They all said they had nothing to do with Chika’s death.
The suspected gunman, Sihlangu Sikhakhane, said he did not know Chika.
In his bail application, he said he did not have a criminal record and owned a licensed firearm, which had been identified by police as the murder weapon and confiscated. The bail application will continue next Monday.
The State is expected to oppose bail, with judgment likely to be handed down on Tuesday.
Outside the court protesters were out in full force, singing and chanting slogans.
Many made it clear they did not want the suspects to be granted bail.