‘Don’t bother Bobani – he’s a busi­ness­man’

Bay mayor avail­able to an­swer ques­tions on toi­lets but not re­gard­ing Hawks’ raid on his of­fice, at­tor­ney says

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Front page - Rochelle de Kock dekockr@ti­soblack­star.co.za

Do not contact my client, he is a busi­ness­man run­ning ar­guably the big­gest busi­ness in the East­ern Cape.

That was the di­rec­tive from at­tor­ney Danie Gouws, who is rep­re­sent­ing Nel­son Man­dela Bay mayor Mongameli Bobani.

Bobani has stonewalled ques­tions around a visit by the Hawks to his of­fice this week.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors from the Direc­torate for Pri­or­ity Crime In­ves­ti­ga­tions (the Hawks) swooped on the Port El­iz­a­beth City Hall, seiz­ing com­put­ers and doc­u­ments af­ter hand­ing Bobani a search war­rant.

The mayor has since re­peat­edly re­buffed at­tempts by the me­dia to get him to com­ment on the raid.

Since news of the raid broke, Bobani has re­mained un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally mum, turn­ing off his phone for hours.

Ques­tions e-mailed and sent via What­sApp have gone unan­swered since Wed­nes­day.

At a din­ner at the Nel­son Man­dela Bay Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day night, Bobani re­fused to an­swer ques­tions from a Week­end Post re­porter.

“I don’t com­ment about that – I am now here busy with the launch and I am not go­ing to com­ment any­thing on the Hawks,” he said.

The raid is be­lieved to be linked to the city’s be­lea­guered In­te­grated Pub­lic Trans­port Sys­tem, through which hun­dreds of mil­lions of rands were squan­dered.

Ear­lier this week, na­tional Hawks spokesper­son Bri­gadier Hang­wani Mu­laudzi said they were in­ves­ti­gat­ing fraud, cor­rup­tion and money laun­der­ing, but de­clined to elab­o­rate.

The ques­tions sent to Bobani by the Week­end Post which went unan­swered were:

Why did the Hawks visit your of­fice specif­i­cally?

We un­der­stand they served you with a search war­rant. What were they search­ing for?

Did they seize any doc­u­ments and com­put­ers in your of­fice and of your sup­port staff?

Have you co-op­er­ated with the in­ves­ti­ga­tors? and

Is this in­ves­ti­ga­tion linked to the IPTS in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the Hawks? Did they pro­vide any de­tails?

Af­ter days of no re­sponse to ques­tions from Week­end Post, Bobani’s at­tor­ney Gouws said on Fri­day: “We have no com­ment on the ques­tions.

“We have con­sulted se­nior coun­sel and they have con­firmed he’s not a sus­pect.

“Any fur­ther ques­tions must be di­rected to me. I want to ask you not to contact my client at all,” Gouws said.

“My phone is on 24 hours a day. If you have any ques­tions, phone me. But don’t bother my client. He’s a busi­ness­man who is a very busy man.”

Asked what he meant by busi­ness­man, Gouws said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was ar­guably the province’s big­gest busi­ness.

Asked why Bobani did not want to take the pub­lic he serves into his con­fi­dence and sim­ply ex­plain what the Hawks wanted from him, Gouws said: “It’s not that my client is not tak­ing the pub­lic into his con­fi­dence, no-one knows what’s go­ing on.

“But what we can say is that he’s not a sus­pect.

“If you have ques­tions about toi­lets and other things then you can contact him”.

The raid is be­lieved to be linked to the city’s be­lea­guered In­te­grated Pub­lic Trans­port Sys­tem, through which hun­dreds of mil­lions of rands were squan­dered

MONGAMELI BOBANI

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