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KwaZulu-Natal businessman Jabulani Mabaso, who stands accused of defrauding the provincial Education Department of about R200-million, has been stripped of the expensive properties and luxury cars which, the State alleges, were his ill-gotten gains.
The assets - the value of which is still being determined - will remain under the control of a court-appointed curator until the outcome of a criminal trial in which he will have to answer to theft and fraud charges relating to a tender for the supply of books and stationery to schools.
This week, curator Trevor White of PricewaterhouseCoopers began taking control of the properties, including the five-star Fairways Lodge at the Mount Edgecombe Golf Estate in which Mabaso has an 80 percent stake.
Other properties which were "restrained" by the order handed down by Judge King Ndlovu in the Pietermaritzburg High Court include three houses in Gauteng, one at the Mount Edgecombe Estate, one at Prince's Grant golf estate on the North Coast and one at upmarket La Domaine in Hillcrest.
The order also authorised the attachment of about R4-million in several bank accounts and five vehicles including an Alfa Romeo Spark, a Mercedes- Benz SLK 350, a Volvo S40 T5 and an Audi Q7.
The order also covers assets of other entities in which Mabaso holds shares including Indiza Capital, Twilight Logistics, African Spirit Trading and Afribooks.
The order, which was sought by advocate Knorx Molelle of the KZN Asset Forfeiture Unit, followed an intensive investigation by the now defunct Scorpions which led to Mabaso's arrest in November.
In an affidavit before the court, investigator Alan Nixon said Mabaso's company, Indiza Infrastructure Solutions, was appointed to act on behalf of the department to manage the procurement of textbooks and stationery from suppliers and manage the distribution of the items.
For this, the company was to be paid a set management fee.
Nixon said his investigation had shown that Indiza had fraudulently invoiced the department by submitting invoices with inflated prices and submitting fictitious purchase orders and suppliers' invoices for goods that were never supplied.
Nixon said his investigations revealed that Indiza had "overcharged" the department by R197.4m.
Nixon discloses in his affidavit that Indiza had invoiced the department for a further R128m.
He says this is being held back by the department because of a court dispute launched by Tehoho Matsoso, who claimed the tender was originally awarded jointly and his company Motswedi had been cut out of the deal.
This is not Mabaso's first brush with the law.
In 2007, he was arrested on fraud charges for non-payment of VAT relating to the same tender and his assets, including some of the same properties and cash of R53m in bank accounts, were seized.
In September that year, in terms of a plea bargain agreement with the State, he pleaded guilty in the Durban Regional Court to fraud charges involving amounts of R32.8m, admitting that he had charged the department VAT but had not disclosed this to the taxman.
He was sentenced to a fine of R100 000, suspended for five years, and agreed to a confiscation order of R32m.
Mabaso has until July 7 to oppose the asset forfeiture application. He will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court again on the criminal charges on July 15.