Polokwane - Julius Malema will stand as accused number 10 in the dock in the Polokwane Regional Court on Wednesday, the day after his four business associates appeared in the same court on 28 counts of fraud, corruption and money laundering.
The former ANC Youth League leader faces money laundering charges for the R6.4 million that was deposited into his Ratanang Family Trust by companies that allegedly unduly benefited through the Limpopo government’s multimillion-rand tender administered by the controversial On-Point Engineers.
The four who appeared on Tuesday were the CEO of On-Point Engineers, Lesiba Gwangwa, 33, the company’s former director Kagisho Dichabe, 35, Helen Moreroa, 32, the director of Oceanside Trading, and Samson Manthata, 39,
According to documents seen by The Star, it is alleged that Malema offered On-Point’s shareholders R3m to walk when the proceeds of the project management unit (PMU) tender started rolling in. Malema and Gwangwa offered Kagisho Dichabe and the Maketele Family Trust three times the value of their shares in On-Point to get rid of them.
The offer was made in September 2010 when millions started pouring into On-Point’s account from the R52m PMU awarded by the Limpopo Roads and Transport Department. This was despite their shares being valued at R1m.
Malema’s co-accused were each granted R40 000 bail and their case was postponed to November 30.
Separately, Gwangwa represented On-Point Engineers, Segwalo Consulting Engineers and Gwama Properties, the three companies that also face similar charges. Moreroa also represented her company Oceanside for the same charges.
A draft charge sheet details a series of payments into Malema’s family trust account between January 2009 and November last year. Oceanside paid R1m in March last year, and Segwalo Consulting Engineers deposited the same amount in June last year, according to the draft charge sheet.
Moreroa’s husband, Selby Manthata, is accused number 7, but he did not appear in court. It is unclear if he will appear alongside Malema on Wednesday. Moreroa is the business partner of Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale and his wife, Mokgadi Dolly Kgohloane, in different companies.
Moreroa and Kgohloane are also business partners. Mathale and Kgohloane are not facing any criminal charges.
On Wednesday, the state said On-Point Engineers, of which Malema owns shares through his family trust, misrepresented facts when applying for the R52 million tender in the Limpopo Roads and Transport Department. The state argues that On-Point claimed it had nine years’ experience, it was proven to have been registered in 2009, and the same year it bid to administer the department’s programme management unit.
On-Point Engineers “provided names of persons as part of the executive and senior and key management teams, when in fact some of the said persons were never employed by or associated with On Point”, the charge sheet states. It “included a tax clearance certificate of a shelf company purportedly as the tax clearance certificate of On-Point”.
The State says On-Point would not have been awarded the contract “had they provided the correct information” when it bid for the tender. Vested with the control over the department’s R52m unit, On-Point was in pole position to influence the awarding of subcontracts to specific companies for road designs and construction projects.
One such company was Oceanside, which allegedly did not meet the “NQF certificate qualifying requirements, but was, despite that shortcoming, not disqualified by the department’s Bid Evaluation Committee”.
The prosecution said On-Point Engineers sat on the evaluation committee. Oceanside was paid R6.1m and On-Point had received R43m from the department to date. Part of this money helped to buy Malema’s black Mercedes-Benz Vito and farm outside Polokwane.
“And whereas an amount of R3.9m that was deposited into Ratanang Trust account was meant for the purchase of a farm for Ratanang Trust, as represented by accused 10 [Malema], however, by arrangement [with Malema], Gwama Properties, represented by Gwangwa, ended up being the purchaser of the said farm.”
For this, the State alleges that proceeds of unlawful activities were acquired, possessed or used in contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004.
The Maketele Family Trust was co-founded by Thomas Rasethaba, a relative of Malema’s ally Sello Rasethaba.
Sources close to Malema and Gwangwa confirmed the offer for Malema’s and Gwangwa’s family trusts to remain sole shareholders.
The Star understands that part of the R3m was paid out to Dichabe and the Maketele trust in eight instalments deposited into the account of Kopania Engineers.
Blasted by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela’s provisional report as unlawful and apparently corrupt, the PMU and the Hawks’ own investigations have been used to secure warrants for the arrest of Malema, Gwangwa, Dichabe and others.
Manthata’s flagship company, Selby Construction, and On-Point are among companies owned by Malema’s and Mathale’s allies that have been blamed for the province’s R2.2 billion cash-flow crisis. They have received the majority of lucrative Limpopo government and municipal contracts since Mathale took over as premier in 2009.