'Mr X' tells Zondo Commission of elaborate payments made from Mhlathuze Water
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Johannesburg - A key witness referred to only as 'Mr X' has testified in an undisclosed location about corruption allegations involving the Richards Bay based state-owned water supply company, Mhlathuze Water.
The witness was referred to as Mr X because he fears for his life and had asked the commission to protect him.
The commission heard how Dudu Myeni, then a former board chairperson of Mhlathuze Water board, threatened Mr X's daughter after she heard that he had been cooperating with the commission. Mr X is the owner of Isibonelo Construction a construction company that operated in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal.
Earlier, the commission had heard that Isibonelo Construction had received a total of R3 million payments from Premier Attractions 1016 - a company owned by Thalenthe Myeni, Dudu Myeni's son.
The payments took place between October 2015 and February 2016. The amounts varied from R1 million each.
Faced with questions regarding the payments, Myeni Junior had earlier said the transactions had been part of a usual business transaction.
"In respect to Isibonelo, the transactions were business transactions. I have no record of the nature of the transactions. I have no record of the business (transactions) made with the said company due to the passage of time," he said
However, the commission's witness, Mr X will dispute this account in his submissions. Mr X explained to the commission on Monday that Isibonelo had done various work in KZN and that it had provided JoJo Tanks to an area in KZN in 2014. He said he had obtained the contract after contacting Myeni. He explained that he and Myeni had had a long standing relationship over the years.
Mr X explained his friend, a Mboniseni Majola, had approached him in early 2015 asking that he provide his banking facilities of Isibonelo so that he and his "boss" could transfer funds through the company's account. Majola was a project manager at Mhlathuze Water.
"A friend of mine had asked me for help with regards to funds that they wanted to access with his boss. Boniseni Majola is the friend's name. I did not ask him (Majola) how the scheme would work because he is more educated than me. He said he would give me the account number that I must pay the money to," Mr X explained.
Mr X explained that Majola had used Isibonelo's banking facilities as a payment area for construction engineering companies. The engineering companies who provide false employment letters to Isibonelo and would then transfer various amounts of money.
He told the commission that he then was instructed to make payments to various banking accounts, which had never done business with Isibonelo.
Mr X explained that Majola had worked with a colleague to draw up fake invoices that would make it seem like Isibonelo was being paid for funds it did not render. This was to disguise the transactions which took place between 2013 to 2016.
"Yes I did that (make the payments to other companies from funds provided by the engineering companies). I wanted to be seen as a person who can be trusted. I would look at the money and everything was done with secretary and would not touch that money," he explained.