The NPA's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has obtained a forfeiture order for two Zimbali-located properties worth R22 million linked to some of the accused in the Zandile Gumede corruption trial emanating from the infamous 2017 Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender worth R320 million.
The properties will be sold and proceeds given to the State through the Criminal Assets Recovery Account (CARA).
According to Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, the spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in KwaZulu-Natal, the properties were bought using a portion of R52.4 million which was paid to El-Shaddai by DSW and the private company is owned by Prabagaran Pariah who is an accused in the trial together with his company.
Also in the picture in the complex web of transactions is Craig Ponnan, another accused in the ongoing high-profile corruption trial.
NEWS: The NPA's Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has obtained a forfeiture order for two Zimbali properties worth R22 million linked to some of the accused in the Zandile Gumede corruption trial emanating from the 2017 Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender worth R320 million.— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) September 7, 2023
The preservation order was granted in November 2021 on the basis that there were reasonable grounds to believe that the properties were proceeds of unlawful activities, as they were acquired with the proceeds from the alleged fraud, corruption, racketeering and money laundering committed by accused persons in the Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender.
Those accused in the trial who are also in the picture are Craig Ponnan, Sinthamone Ponnan, El Shaddai Group CC (El Shaddai) and Umvuyo Holdings CC (Umvuyo).
“An amount of R52.4 million was paid by eThekwini Municipality to El Shaddai (where Prabagaran Pariah is a sole member) between February 2018 to July 2019. El Shaddai then paid R48.7 million to a company named Umvuyo,” Ramkisson-Kara said.
“The director of Umvuyo is Sinthamone Ponnan, who is the mother of Craig Ponnan. Craig had control over the El Shaddai bank account and was also a signatory on the bank account of Umvuyo. He participated in the affairs of El Shaddai and Umvuyo.”
She added that several payments of over R6 million were made by Umvuyo towards the purchase of the property at Ebuhleni (a section of Zimbali) and the property was then transferred to a company called Western Breeze.
“The vacant land at 9 Mahogany Drive was purchased by Yunus Essop and registered in the name of the Western Breeze in 2014. Umvuyo paid R16.1 million for the construction and design of this house,” she said.
In granting the forfeiture order, the court ordered that the Ebuhleni property be forfeited to the State.
Regarding the property on Mahogany Drive (also in Zimbali), Western Breeze was ordered to pay an amount of R16.1 million into the CARA within the next six months.
Should this not be done, the court ordered that the appointed curator to sell the property via auction.
The corruption trial, which involves Gumede, the former mayor of eThekwini and others, returns to the High Court in Durban on October 2, for further evidence tabling by the State.