Mansions, Bentleys and Ferraris: The long list of assets seized from Edwin Sodi

By Sihle Mlambo Time of article published Oct 2, 2020

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Johannesburg - The Asset Forfeiture Unit has seized assets including Ferraris, Bentleys and properties worth millions, in the high profile Free State asbestos corruption case.

The seven accused appeared at the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court on Friday after they were arrested by the Hawks in KZN, Gauteng and the Free State this week.

The seven accused - Nthimotse Mokhesi, a former HOD at the human settlements department, Mahlomola John Matlakala, a supply chain director, Edwin Sodi, a businessman, Sello Joseph Radebe, Kgotso Abel Manyike, a businessman, Thabane Wiseman Zulu, a former director-general for the human settlements department, and Matawana Mlamleli, the former Mangaung mayor and former human settlements MEC, were granted bail ranging from R50 000 to R500 000 bail.

The bulk of the seized assets are owned by Sodi and his company, Blackhead Consulting.

In an affidavit, an Nkosiphendule Mradla, an AFU special investigator, detailed how the seven accused, along with five companies, conspired to defraud the State of hundreds of millions through the controversial Free State asbestos project.

The AFU says the contract should have never been awarded to Blackhead Consulting and Diamond Hill Trading in a joint venture, as they were never a contracted party of the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements.

The Free State DHS had approached the Gauteng DHS to participate in a contract of the Gauteng DHS regarding the audit and assessment, handling of hazardous material removal and disposal of the asbestos project in the Free State Province.

The process was outside the normal procurement process and was unsolicited bid.

The AFU said the request was specific in that Blackhead Consulting had to be appointed to, but the Gauteng contract ended at the end of August 2014, but the Free State deal was only signed in October 1, 2014, which made the deal illegal.

The AFU contends that the Free State DHS had to then follow a competitive procurement process, but this was not done.

“Despite this advice the Free State DHS, led by Mokhesi, proceeded and appointed Blackhead Consulting and Diamond Hill in a joint venture (Blackhead Consulting JV) on 1 October 2014 to carry out the asbestos project in the Free State Province, by which period the Gauteng DHS contract had already ended,” the AFU said.

The AFU also contends that the company, along with Mastertrade, the company it subcontracted to do the work at a cost of R44 million, did not have the competencies which are required for asbestos projects, which are regulated by law.

Mastertrade subcontracted the work required by the Free State government to Ori Group for R21 million.

The Ori Group was only paid an amount of R6.3 million by Mastertrade and they never completed the work, the AFU said.

“The manipulation of the procurement process through intentional misrepresentation by the defendants to the DHS that a legal procurement process was followed, led to huge financial loss to the DHS and the State,” the investigator said in an affidavit.

In the case of Mlamleli, the former human settlements MEC, the AFU said she should have acted after the Auditor-General compiled an audit of the department’s finances and flagged the contract between it and Sodi’s Blackhead Consulting and Diamond Hill to be irregular.

At that stage, only R91 million had been unlawfully paid to Blackhead Consulting and Diamond Hill and had she acted, she could have stopped a further R139 million being paid to the entities.

“There was a duty by Mlamleli to act and stop the irregular procurement and if she did so the DHS would not have suffered a further loss of R139m and Mlamleli clearly ignored the AG’s report and further identified herself with the criminal activity that was being perpetuated through a fraudulent scheme by department officials and Sodi, Blackhead Consulting, Diamond Hill and others,” the AFU said.

“It is for this reason that Mlamleli must be held accountable for her non-action and must be accountable and take responsibility for the laundered proceeds which she had the authority to stop,” said the AFU.

In his affidavit, the investigator detailed assets valued at over R200m which were owned by the seven accused and their five co-accused companies. These assets have been seized by the AFU.

EDWIN SODI AND BLACKHEAD CONSULTING

Edwin Sodi

Edwin Sodi of Ruimsig, Roodepoort, owns a vast amount of properties and cars in his name and in the names of various companies he owns, including Blackhead Consulting.

The properties include a farm valued at R6 million in Ruimsig, Pretoria and a property valued at R1 m in Aanwins AH, Johannesburg.

Sodi is the sole director of Base Property Holdings (Pty) Ltd, which holds mortgage bonds valued at R40.5 million. Base Property Holdings also holds 10 title deeds in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

His company, Blackhead Consulting, which also lists Hilton David Neville Sparks as a director, owns a R1.2 million property in Fourways Gardens, Johannesburg and a R1.2 million property in Aanwins AH, Johannesburg.

Sodi holds almost 40 directorships in various private companies with interests in property, office supplies and construction, among others.

SODI’S CARS

Four vehicles which are registered in Sodi’s name are valued at over R10 million.

These include a black 2019 Porsche Cayenne S Coupe valued at R1.9m, a black 2002 Mercedes Benz C32 AMG valued at R100 000, a white 2017 Rolls Royce Ghost Family Dawn worth R5.3m and a R2.8m blue 2017 Bentley Continental Super Sports convertible.

Bentley Continental Super Sports
A new Rolls-Royce Ghost is seen at the Rolls-Royce Goodwood factory near Chichester, Britain. Picture: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Sodi’s company, Blackhead Consulting owns 25 motor vehicles valued at R12.4m.

These vehicles include:

* a R3m red 2017 Ferrari Four F151,

* a silver 2004 Toyota Tazz valued at R55 000,

* a white 2011 Volkswagen VW250 Polo valued at R75 000,

* a white 2013 Chevrolet Utility 1.4 valued at R70 000,

* a white 2014 Volkswagen Polo Vivo valued at R67 000,

* a silver 2014 Volkswagen Polo valued at R67 000,

* a black 2014 Volkswagen Polo Vivo worth R67 000,

* a white 2017 Hino 500 Chassis Cab worth R350 000,

* a white 2012 Nissan NP200 worth R65 000,

* a white 2012 Nissan NP200 valued at R65 000,

* a grey 2013 Porsche worth R650 000,

* a silver 2014 Hyundai I20 valued at R63 000,

* a 2013 Mercedes Benz G63 AMG valued at R1.2m,

* a white 2014 Ford Ranger valued at R129 000,

* a white 2014 Ford Ranger valued at R129 000,

* a white 2014 Ford Ranger valued at R129 000,

* a grey 2016 Ford Ranger valued at R300 000,

* a grey 2016 Ford Ranger valued at R300 000,

* a silver 2016 Ford Ranger valued at R300 000,

* a grey 2016 Ford Fiesta valued at R160 000,

* a grey 2016 Ford Ranger valued at R300 000,

There’s also a silver 2016 Ford Ranger valued at R300 000, a silver 2016 Ford Ranger R300 000, a white 2017 Bentley Continental GT Coupe valued at R2.8m and a 2017 Mercedes Benz A217 S65 AMG valued at R1.5m.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit noted that Sodi had a strong financial position with a long standing relationship with ABSA and held over R96m in investments with the bank.

Blackhead Consulting’s books showed an operating profit of R15.5m, with R71m equity, turnover had increased from R197m to R292m and Sodi had savings of over R25m in his ABSA bank accounts.

Sodi has four credit cards, one home loan account, an American Express card, four vehicle asset finance accounts and a debit master card.

The Blackhead Consulting also had a number of revenue generating projects with the State, with some of them still in progress. The projects involve a number of government departments, at the national level, provincial, state entities and municipal projects with the City of Tshwane and the City of Johannesburg.

SARAH ‘OLLY’ MATAWANA MLAMLELI

Manguang executive mayor Olly Mlamleli. Picture: Facebook

Mlamleli, the former Mangaung mayor and former human settlements MEC, is a resident of Dan Pienaar, Bloemfontein.

She owns five properties and two cars in her name.

Mlamleli’s properties, include a R960 000 valued property in Blue Ridge, Shellyvale Ext 7, a R675 000 property in Viljoenskroon, land worth R2.8m in Shellyvale Ext 7, a property valued at R800 000 in Uitsig, Bloemfontein, and she owns a 50% interest in a Viljoenskroon property with an undisclosed valuation.

In terms of cars, Mlamleli owns a beige 2010 AUDI Q7 valued at R250 000 and red 2005 Toyota Hilux valued at R20 000.

She has active directorships in four private companies.

NTHIMOTSE MOKHESI

Former Head of Department (HOD) Human Settlements in the Free State Provincial Government Nthimotse Mokhesi, appears before the Zondo commission in Braamfontein. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

Mokhesi is the former head of department at the Department of Human Settlements. He earned about R1.1m per year during his tenure.

Mokhesi’s registered home address was Wild Olive Heights, Bloemfontein. He is also a trustee of the Likemo Family Trust, which has a registered business address in Vanderbijlpark.

The trust owns the Wild Olive Heights property which is valued at R2.2m.

Mokhesi and his wife also own a R1m valued property in Sasolburg Ext 3.

MOKHESI’S CARS

Mokhesi owns four cars valued at just over R660 000.

He also has seven active directorships in various entities.

“Based on the aforesaid employment history of Mokhesi, it is reasonable to conclude that, he has generated retirement savings from the employer and thus entitled to pension benefit, as such these benefits constitute realisable property,” said the investigator.

MAHLOMOLA JOHN MATLAKALA

Matlakala is the supply chain director for the Free State Department of Human Settlement.

Matlakala and his wife, Dineo, along with Khauta Aarom Maloka, are trustees of the Tlaks Family Trust.

The trust owns the R1.2m valued property in Fichardpark, Bloemfontein, which he resides at.

Matlakala also owns a brown 2011 Chevrolet Corsa pick up van worth R15 500, a green 2012 Mercedes Benz W204 and a yellow 1986 Citi Golf (no valuations provided for two cars).

The AFU said Matlakala’s assets, along with his retirements, could be seized.

“Based on the aforesaid employment history, it is reasonable to conclude that, he has generated retirement savings from the employer and thus entitled to pension benefit, as such these benefits constitute realisable property”.

SELLO JOSEPH SYDNEY RADEBE

Radebe, who is from Fourways, also owns property valued at over R760 000 in Phuthaditjhaba.

He owns a black 2015 Bentley Continental GT worth R2.9m and also has seven active directorships in various companies.

KGOTSO ABEL MANYIKE

Manyike, of the Ori Group, who lives in Centurion with his wife, Masekoai Mobu, owns a R760 000 valued property in Clubview, Pretoria, along with a black 2007 Ford Focus valued at R25 000. He has at least five active directorships.

THABANE WISEMAN ZULU

Zulu, who lives at the Pretoria Gardens, with his wife Khombisile, owns a R3.5m valued property at The Wilds, Pretoria.

Zulu owns five cars valued at R1.75m

These include a grey 2011 BMW 3 Series ME Convertible worth R95 000, a white 2013 BMW 6 Series M6 Convertible worth R370 000, a white 2013 Range Rover worth R690 000, a gold 2014 Range Rover Sport valued at R600 000 and a 1989 Red Honda Ballade

He also has active directorships in three companies and he is a trustee of the Siphosegugu Trust.

IOL

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