Julius Malema off hook for now on fraud rap
Johannesburg - While AfriForum’s bid to prosecute EFF leader Julius Malema over fraud charges relating to a Limpopo department of transport tender has hit a snag, the civil rights group’s chief executive, Kallie Kriel, said they were not ready to give up yet.
His comments come after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) over the weekend wrote a letter to the organisation. In it, acting director of public prosecutions in the Gauteng Division, advocate George Baloyi, said: “I decline to prosecute Mr Julius Malema at this stage. After the finalisation of the trial in this matter, the record of the proceedings and any credibility findings the court might have made during the trial, as well as the report of the prosecutor who conducted the trial, will be perused to determine whether a criminal prosecution should be instituted against Mr Malema.”
In July, AfriForum vowed to approach the courts to compel the NPA to make a decision over possibly prosecuting Malema over the On Point Engineering tender.
According to the NPA, directors of On Point Engineering Lesiba Gwangwa, Kagiso Dichabe and Thomas Rasetlhaba allegedly made misrepresentations to the Limpopo Department of Transport when it awarded the company a R51.9million tender for a project management unit in 2009. Details of how the process unfolded were also laid bare in a report released by former public protector Thuli Madonsela.
Releasing her report in 2012, Madonsela said the awarding of the tender was unlawful and constituted maladministration, and that Malema, who was ANC Youth League leader at the time, had benefited from the contract illegally through his Ratanang Family Trust - a point Malema has since denied. It was also said Gwangwa was Malema’s business partner at the time, and (Malema) had allegedly used his influence for On Point to be granted the tender.
In his letter released on Saturday, Baloyi said Gwangwa would be charged with three counts of fraud for telling the Department of Transport in Limpopo that On Point was not paid up to R8m for road drawings and designs in the project.
While Malema will not be prosecuted yet, Baloyi indicated a separate probe would be launched into Malema’s administration of the Ratanang Family Trust, and that a decision would be taken after the probe was finalised. Kriel last night said the civil rights group would be making further representations to the NPA.
Malema has yet to comment.