A fraudulent tax certificate used to secure a tender for the controversial construction of Mpumalanga’s Mbombela stadium has led to Kaizer Chiefs manager Bobby Motaung being arrested by the Hawks.
Two independent sources confirmed to The Star that the man who left Kaizer Chiefs fans seething over utterances that he would never relinquish his position as club manager as he was not elected but born into the family business was arrested at the club’s headquarters in Naturena, south of Joburg, on Wednesday.
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela would not reveal the names of the two men arrested, but confirmed that they had arrested directors of Lefika Emerging Equity (Pty) Ltd – a company that allegedly fraudulently secured a tender to build the R1.2 billion 2010 World Cup stadium.
He said one of the men was arrested in Naturena around 10am and the other in Cape Town.
Motaung is the company director, while Chris Grib, who was arrested in Cape Town on Wednesday, is the CEO. A third man is still on the run.
According to company registration records, the third man listed as director of the company is Herbert Theledi.
“I can confirm that we [Hawks and Sars] arrested two gentlemen for fraud, forgery and theft about three hours ago in relation to allegations that Lefika submitted false SA Revenue Service documents to apply for a tender to build the Mbombela stadium. They are being transported to Nelspruit and will appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court tomorrow [on Thursday],” said Polela.
Kaizer Chiefs have vehemently denied Motaung’s arrest.
“Bobby has not been arrested… I have consulted with my principals and that’s the first thing I asked from the security; they said they didn’t see any Hawks entering the premises,” club spokesman Vina Maphosa said on Wednesday.
But impeccable sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Star that Motaung and Grib were the two unnamed men picked up by the Hawks.
Polela said Lefika had submitted fraudulent documents purportedly coming from Sars when it successfully tendered for the contract to design the stadium.
He said the Hawks had “unravelled the entire bidding process and interviewed officials and the losing bidders to find out where corruption happened and who was involved”.
Polela said the arrests were the culmination of the first phase of an ongoing investigation.
The construction of the 41 000-seater venue was marred by allegations of tender fraud, corruption and wrongdoing. The local community complained they had been forced out of their land without any compensation, with two schools demolished to make way for the stadium.
Former Mbombela municipality Speaker Jimmy Mohlala, who blew the whistle on the deal, was gunned down in January 2009. He had publicly accused Lefika, other companies and individuals of tender corruption a year earlier.
Mohlala claimed to have evidence that Lefika forged a government document and committed bank fraud to win the contract.
He alleged that the then-Mbombela municipal manager had connived with stadium contractors to steal public money. He also alleged there had been corruption relating to housing.
Mohlala was told by the ANC’s leaders for the Ehlanzeni region to resign, but he refused. Mohlala threatened to file criminal complaints, but was shot dead at his home in Kanyamazane on January 4, 2009, before he could do so.
The housing corruption allegations led to the manager being hauled before a disciplinary hearing. He was found guilty and sacked in March 2009.
The manager went to the labour court in a bid to overturn his dismisssal. City Press reported – and well-placed ANC sources have confirmed – that the party’s Ehlanzeni leaders instructed party councillors to reach a settlement out of court. The manager was paid R1.5 million in settlement, with the municipality saying it was necessary to do this in order to avoid incurring about R13m in legal fees.
Mohlala’s killer or killers have yet to face the law. Charges against five men arrested after his death were dropped in January.
Police later arrested a Mozambican man, known as Josh, who, it is understood, alleged in an affidavit that a senior ANC politician and a personality in soccer circles had been involved in Mohlala’s death.
At the time, Mpumalanga police questioned him, but later released him, saying they lacked evidence to link him to the crime.
Deadly business ‘exposed’
A Mozambican man known as Josh made sensational claims in an affidavit that a senior ANC politician and a personality in soccer circles were involved in former Mbombela Speaker Jimmy Mohlala’s death.
He also claimed he was hired by Mpumalanga government officials and the soccer boss to work as a cleaner from 2000 until 2009 so that he could eliminate his handlers’ political and business opponents.
The Mozambican’s affidavit claimed he planted drugs in councillor Isaiah Khoza’s house; poisoned former ANC Youth League provincial leader James Nkambule; and tried to kill former Gert Sibande mayor Andries Gamede, standing committee on public accounts chairman Fish Mahlalela and Mbombela mayor Lassy Chiwayo.
Although the Mbombela municipality reportedly ordered several audits after uncovering dubious transactions involving taxpayers’ money, no arrests had ever been made in relation to the alleged stadium corruption until now.