‘Payback time’ for Mia and officials

Crime & Courts

Johannesburg - Joburg businessman Sayed Hoosen Mia may lose his expensive mansions, luxury cars and various lucrative businesses following a multimillion-rand civil lawsuit against him.

The Department of Public Works has filed the lawsuits against Mia and two of his “lieutenants” – Desmond Simamane and Thabo Moagi – who allegedly assisted him in defrauding the government of more than R40 million.

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Sayed Mia 
Picture: Handout/SuppliedThe Melville house of Public Works official Desmond Simamane. 	Picture: Google MapsThe mansion of Sayed Hoosen Mia, inset, said to be the mastermind of a scam that allegedly defrauded the Department of Public Works of more than R40 million. Photo: Adrian de Kock

The government is trying to recover about R8m from the trio.

The department’s Phillip Masilo did not give reasons for not suing for the whole R40m, but The Star understands that the statute of limitations constrains the government from doing so, because of the time that elapsed before the suit was instituted.

“The Department of Public Works is not at liberty to reveal the exact details why it is suing only for about R8m.

It should be noted that this legal action is in line with the department’s concerted campaign to root out corruption and fraud, and ensure that crime does not pay,” Masilo said.

Simamane and Moagi were employees of the government in Joburg, and their responsibility was to secure office accommodation for departments.

The State claims the two were on Mia’s payroll.

It submitted documents and proof of payments showing that Simamane and Moagi personally benefited from their roles in securing government tenders for Mia.

The prosecution submitted that Simamane and Moagi had also benefited financially, including getting luxury cars for their own use.

According to the documents, Mia paid more than R635 000 into Simamane’s personal account as well as into the account of his soccer club, Island Football Club. The cars were worth at least R250 000.

In one of the lawsuits, the State argues that in May 2008, Simamane approached his supervisor and told him that he had been unable to find suitable accommodation for the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) in Alberton.

He claimed that he could not find accommodation through an open tender system.

Court documents appear to indicate that Simamane persuaded the government to secure a negotiated deal with Mia. This was sealed on May 13, 2008.

The government had to make an initial monthly payment of R272 175 for the building in Voortrekker Road, Alberton.

The State submitted that Simamane concluded a similar deal for Sassa’s accommodation in Boksburg using the same modus operandi.

The government had also agreed to his proposal for a building in 50 Market Street.

This deal was sealed on July 7, 2008 and the government had to pay more than R1.3m.

Simamane allegedly also secured additional accommodation for Sassa in the same building during the same month to the tune of more than R1m.

Moagi, according to court documents, claimed that the Department of Communications was urgently looking for accommodation and advised the department to negotiate with Leopont, a property company owned by Mia.

The building, Magic Builders Centre, is situated at the corner of Old Pretoria Road and Church Street in Midrand.

The deal was concluded on February 15, 2008 and the government allegedly suffered a loss of more than R3.7m.

Last Wednesday, Mia filed replying affidavits in the Johannesburg High Court in which he denied any fraudulent transactions.

He also denied claims of making fraudulent payments into the personal accounts of Simamane and Moagi, including the purchase of luxury vehicles for them.

Mia just made a blanket denial.

Simamane also denied all allegations against him.

Moagi has yet to file papers in court.

A trial date is expected to be set.

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The Star

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