Funds for Malema farm ‘came from contracts’

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IOL pic sep27 julius malema court speech Reuters Supporters of President Jacob Zuma burned a symbolic coffin of Julius Malema. File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Johannesburg - A series of complicated bank transfers were used to “disguise” the source of the R4 million that paid for the farm that former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema and his business partner Lesiba Gwangwa bought, allegedly with money from Limpopo government contracts.

The transactions are contained in a forensic audit, which was used this week as the basis for the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) to seize the 139 hectare Schuilkraal farm in Limpopo.

The unit obtained a preservation order for the farm, preventing the property from being sold pending the finalisation of a forfeiture case.

In an affidavit submitted to the Pretoria High Court, unit head Willie Hofmeyr said the farm “was acquired with the proceeds of fraud and corruption” perpetrated against the Limpopo Roads and Transport Department.

The unit based its case on the report of Public Protector Thuli Madonsela on the activities of On-Point Engineers.

Malema and Gwangwa each own 50 percent shares in Guilder Investments, a company that wholly owns On-Point.

A forensic report compiled by auditing firm PwC, commissioned by the National Treasury, reveals that even though the farm was officially bought by Gwangwa’s company Gwama Properties, Malema allegedly personally managed part of the transaction.

The payments were made between March and July last year.

According to the affidavit, Gwangwa and Malema got money for the farm by allegedly devising a scheme in which On-Point, as the company managing roads projects for the department, would allegedly receive kickbacks from companies that won tenders.

The companies were employed by the department to do drawings and designs for road projects – work for which On-Point had already been paid, Hofmeyr says in the affidavit.

“The companies then, after making minor alterations, used the same designs and drawings and submitted them to the department.”

The department then paid the service providers, who allegedly paid On-Point for a second time.

They also used Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust.

According to the forensic report by auditor Trevor White, the R4m for the farm allegedly originated from companies that were awarded contracts by the provincial government.

Two companies, which benefited from Limpopo government roads contracts, allegedly paid R1m each into On-Point’s account. The money was then allegedly used to pay conveyancers.

 

An engineering company, which also won a provincial contract, allegedly paid R1.2m to Segwalo Consulting Engineers.

Gwangwa resigned as a director of Segwalo, but he was allegedly a signatory to the company’s bank account at the time of the transaction. Segwalo is said to have paid R1m to On-Point, which then made another R1m payment for the farm.

Qualis Health, also owned by Gwangwa, allegedly paid R986 418 into Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust. Malema, according to the report, allegedly instructed his attorneys to transfer the same amount into the account of Gwama Properties to pay the balance on the farm.

In his affidavit, Hofmeyr said the initial purchase agreement for the Schuilkraal farm was concluded in the name of Ratanang, but “for no apparent reason the agreement was cancelled”.

“Malema then instructed KTP Attorneys to utilise the funds held on behalf of Ratanang for the transfer to Gwama… The procurement of the property constitutes evidence of a money laundering scheme,” Hofmeyr says.

According to court papers, the forensic report will be used in Malema’s criminal trial next year.

The preservation order was granted without Malema or Gwangwa being present at court.

Neither man could not be reached for comment by the time of going to press on Saturday.

Sunday Independent


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