Corruption charges may be reinstated now that Hawks are ‘satisfied’ with investigations
Kaizer Chiefs football manager Bobby Motaung and his five co-accused may soon return to court on fraud, corruption and forgery charges relating to the R1.2 billion Mbombela stadium construction tenders. Hawks boss Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza confirmed to City Press that his unit’s investigation into the matter was now complete and that they had referred the case to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for a decision on whether or not to prosecute.
“Ntlemeza has asked National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams to reconsider the reinstatement of the case after collecting the docket from the Mpumalanga regional Hawks investigators,” said a senior Hawks officer, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“The docket was sent to the NPA on Tuesday and we are waiting for their decision on the way forward.” Ntlemeza declined to reveal any details. In June 2014, Mpumalanga Hawks officials were furious when Ntlemeza took the docket from the original investigator, Warrant Officer Mashudu Mashamba, and reassigned the case.
The provincial officers believed the case was being destroyed.
At the time, the NPA said it was ready for trial when the case was struck off the roll. Prosecutors wanted the case reinstated but told City Press that Ntlemeza had refused to hand over the docket.
This week, Ntlemeza said he had taken possession of the docket after learning that investigators had not made any progress on the case.
“A new investigator was appointed to address some of the concerns raised by the court. We are now satisfied with the progress and the matter is now with the NPA,” said Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.
In 2012, Motaung was charged alongside Herbert Theledi, co-director of Lefika Emerging Equity, and Chris Grip, the company’s chief executive officer, for allegedly using a false tax clearance certificate when they bid for a tender to design the stadium for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
The three allegedly forged an Mbombela municipal council letter to secure a R1 million overdraft and allegedly stole R143 million.
They are also facing separate but interlinked charges of fraud, corruption and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act relating to R920 million worth of stadium tenders.
In that case, they have been charged alongside former Mbombela municipal manager Jacob Dladla, former Ehlanzeni District Municipality technical manager Tebogo Kubeka and Grip’s lawyer and Lefika’s compliance officer, Michael Ramos.
The case looked like it would die after the NPA bungled it, forcing the Nelspruit regional court to remove it from the court roll in 2013.
The prosecutor, Advocate Patrick Nkuna, wanted to transfer the case to the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, but some of his seniors disagreed and presented two contradictory letters to the court – one supporting Nkuna and another saying the matter should remain where it was.
NPA spokesperson Luvuyo Mfaku said an announcement about the reinstatement of the case would be made once a decision was taken and those involved notified.
Motaung referred questions to his lawyer, Zola Majavu, who said they did not know that the case could now proceed. “We have not been notified about the developments, so I cannot comment,” Majavu said.
Police have failed over the past seven years to arrest those responsible for the assassination of former Mbombela municipal speaker Jimmy Mohlala, who had been on a crusade to root out and expose corruption related to the stadium tenders.
Mohlala was shot dead at his home in KaNyamazane township, outside Mbombela, on January 5 2009.