Share register links Sexwale to R10bn tender bid

Mosomo, the black economic empowerment company poised to cash in on the disputed R10-billion social grants tender, has finally disclosed its share register.

It contradicts earlier claims about who was behind the company and reveals further links to Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale.

Mosomo came into the spotlight in January as the leading partner in a broad-based black economic empowerment (BEE) consortium to acquire 20% share options in the United States-listed Net1 UEPS Technologies. Days later Net1’s wholly owned subsidiary, Cash Paymaster Services, signed a R10-billion contract with the South African Social Services Agency for social grants payments.

Two losing bidders have challenged the contract in court, arguing that the bid process was irregular.

Last month the Mail & Guardian revealed Mosomo’s links to Sexwale’s Mvelaphanda Holdings. Mosomo director Brian Mosehla was a former Mvelaphanda finance executive, and co-director Lindikhaya Sipoyo represents Mvelaphanda’s interests in several companies.
More significantly, Mosomo is Mvelaphanda’s empowerment partner in its investment in Coal of Africa (CoAL).

Mosomo-Mvelaphanda, with Mvelaphanda director Patrick Ntshalintshali’s Mntungwa Resources, holds Mvelaphanda’s voting right for the latter’s CoAL share.

Sexwale’s director general, Thabane Zulu, was a member of the bid adjudication committee and Michael Hulley, President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer, who is also close to Mvelaphanda Holdings through a business venture and chief executive Mark Willcox, was a “strategic adviser” for the bid.

Denying the links

Mvelaphanda and Mosomo denied any financial links, but Mosomo’s share register, which it finally released this week, raises other questions. It shows Mosomo’s shares are held 100% by a trust, which Mosehla described as his “family trust”. This contradicts formal investor statements and previous explanations.

A recent Net1 statement to investors in the US named Mosehla as Mosomo’s “principal shareholder”.

And Mosomo’s co-director Lindikhaya Sipoyo told the M&G that he, Mosehla “and one other family trust” member were shareholders. The share register reflects neither claim.

Contact details on the register again indicate links to Mvelaphanda Holdings. The first contact number is for Mvelaphanda’s Johannesburg offices, but Mosehla said he formed the company in June 2009, more than a year after he said he had left Mvelaphanda’s employ.

When the M&G called the number this week, a staff member said he was not there “at the moment; he is not normally in the office”. Another said “he operates from a separate office”.

The domain name mosomo-invest.com in Mosehla’s listed email address was registered by Mvelaphanda Holdings, more than two years after he supposedly left the company.

Siblings

Moreover, it emerged this week that Ntshalintshali, whose sister belongs to another BEE grouping that partnered Cash Paymaster Services for the grants tender, works in Cape Town on Mosomo’s behalf.

Mosehla was adamant that “Mvelaphanda does not own any interest, directly or indirectly, and has no future beneficial interest in Mosomo Investment Holdings and its subsidiaries”.

He said the links related to “the Coal of Africa transaction”, which he said “catalysed” Mosomo’s formation. “I approached AGC [African Global Capital, a Mvelaphanda partner] and Mvelaphanda to advise and structure the transaction.”

As a result, he said, he spent up to six months as a “refugee” at the shared AGC-Mvelaphanda offices.

He said: “The mosomo-invest.com domain was created for circulation of documents while I was doing a transaction that involved AGC-Coal of Africa.”

He and Ntshalintshali both said the latter did him “a favour” by meeting community groups that Net1 formally announced as members of the Mosomo-led consortium.

Of the six groups the M&G could trace last month, none knew of the consortium. Mosomo approached them only after the M&G published the story.

Mosehla and Ntshalintshali also said the latter held “zero” interest in Mosomo. “I wasn’t invited,” Ntshalintshali said.

But he confirmed that his sister, Nonhlanhla Ntshalintshali, through her company Ekhaya Skills Development, was part of Cash Paymaster Service’s BEE consortium for the social grants bid.

Mvelaphanda’s undeniable links

This again links Mvelaphanda to the tender, through one of its directors, although Patrick Ntshalintshali denied this.

Nonhlanhla Ntshalintshali referred all queries to her brother.

In an earlier statement, Mvela­phanda group chief executive Mikki Xayiya denied that the company was involved in Mosomo.

He drew attention to Mvelaphanda’s shareholding in Absa, whose subsidiary, AllPay, was a losing bidder in the grants tender.

This week Xayiya said: “Common sense suggests that you should speak to Mosehla about contact details he provided for himself.

“Our earlier statement was accurate and complete and we refer you again to its contents, with a humble suggestion that you ask yourself whether a website domain name and a telephone number really constitute a conspiracy.”

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The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit initiative to develop investigative journalism in the public interest, produced this story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for all our stories, activities and sources of funding.

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