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Chiefs boss faces R143m fraud rap

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Supporters of former Speaker of the Mbombela Municipality Jimmy Mohlala protest outside the Nelspruit Magistrates Court. Mohlala was gunned down outside his home last year after he exposed corruption related to the Mbombela World Cup Stadium. Picture: Itumeleng English

OMPHITLHETSE MOOKI

KaiZer Chiefs manager Bobby Motaung walked into the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court dock and chatted to his co-accused, Herbert Theledi.

He appeared relaxed and was neatly dressed, despite having spent the night behind bars following his arrest on Wednesday and the serious charges he faces.

There is a charge of fraud amounting to R143 million and an alternative charge of theft of R1m – all related to the award of a R1.2 billion tender to build Nelspruit’s Mbombela Stadium for the 2010 World Cup.

“The accused are charged with fraud, alternatively forgery. [They] allegedly submitted a fraudulent tax clearance certificate in relation to the Mbombela Stadium tender,” State advocate Patrick Nkuna told the the court yesterday.

The two directors at Lefika Emerging Equity (Pty) Ltd had attempted to acquire an overdraft at a bank using a fake payment invoice bearing details of the Mbombela Municipality, he said.

“The accused took this payment invoice, went to the bank and requested an overdraft. The bank wanted to verify the origin of the invoice. The municipality denied knowing [of] the letter… [and] confirmed it was not issued by it. Even the signature was not of the official concerned,” Nkuna said.

But Theledi’s lawyer, advocate Kenny Oldwadge, objected to Nkuna’s detailing the charges, saying he was ‘treading on very dangerous ground” by mentioning things not on the draft charge sheet. “It’s sensationalism of the worst kind.”

Nkuna said the pair, and a third Lefika director, Chris Grib, had acted in common purpose when committing the alleged crime. Grib was not in court yesterday. Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela said he would appear today.

In affidavits, Motaung and Theledi said they intended pleading not guilty. They also asked that they be allowed to keep their passports as they were businessmen who frequently travelled out of the country.

They were each released on R50 000 bail. A manager at his father’s Naturena-based soccer team, Motaung – son of Kaizer Chiefs founder Kaizer Motaung – told the court he held directorship at several companies including Kaizer Chiefs Holdings.

The 42-year-old father of three children revealed he earned R100 000 a month, lived in Houghton, drove cars worth R4m and had assets of R12m.

Theledi, 48, a father of nine, said he held directorship of various firms and earned R115 000 a month. He owned several properties, inclu-ding a R15m house in Hyde Park.

The pair managed to evade enraged residents of Kwanyamazane township, who had donned ANC colours and T-shirts bearing the face of murdered Mbombela municipal Speaker Jimmy Mohlala – the man who blew the whistle on the alleged corrupt tender process.

Mohlala was gunned down in 2009 – a year after accusing firms and individuals of corruption.

“Dubhul’u [shoot] Bobby,” the crowd chanted outside court.

But Motaung and Theledi managed to sneak through an underground tunnel out of court.


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