/ 25 September 2012

Court papers claim Malema benefited from corruption

Julius Malema.
Julius Malema.

The papers say the former ANC Youth League leader, who is due to appear in the city's district court on Wednesday for money laundering, had clear business ties with On-Point Engineers director Lesiba Gwangwa.

Gwangwa and three others appeared in court earlier and were granted R40 000 bail each on charges including fraud, corruption and money laundering. The state charges that the four misrepresented themselves to the Limpopo department of roads and transport, and a R52-million tender was awarded to On-Point.

The court heard that another R1-million gratification was paid for the securing of the tender. The fraud charges also relate to designs owned by the department. The state did not oppose bail, saying the accused had cooperated with authorities and were not a flight risk.

The court papers said Malema benefited from the tender by using it to fund a farm worth R3.9-million and to make a payment of R382 655 for a Mercedez Viano. "… Most of the payments … were channelled through other entities … to pay for the farm. .."

Bid documents submitted by On-Point Engineers to the department contained several misrepresentations. On-Point pretended to be an established and experienced multi-disciplinary firm, when it was not. "… [I]t was falsely stated that On-Point had nine years experience in business when, in fact, the company existed for about one month at the time of submission of the bid."

Alleged misrepresentation
Names given as executive and senior people at On-Point were for people not employed there. Another alleged misrepresentation was the furnishing of a tax clearance certificate of a shelf company as that of On-Point. "On Point would not have been awarded the said contract, had they provided the correct information," says the charge sheet.

On-Point and Gwangwa had a duty to appoint and manage service providers to do projects on behalf of the department. On-Point entered into secret agreements with service providers and in return received sums of money for it.

Court papers said the conduct amounted to "corrupt activities" relating to the procuring and withdrawal of tenders.

The four companies charged were On-Point, Gwama Properties, Segwalo Engineering and Oceanside Trading.

Weekend reports recorded public protector Thuli Madonsela as saying Malema made millions from the tender. Though Madonsela could not find any evidence that Malema interfered in the tender process, she found that he benefited "improperly" from the contract.

Her investigation found that On-Point acted corruptly by signing back-to-back agreements with subcontractors.

Madonsela recommended that the tender be immediately cancelled, that the National Prosecuting Authority and the Asset Forfeiture Unit consider criminal action, and that the master of the high court investigate the flow of money into Malema's trust.

Malema is due to appear in the Polokwane District Court at 8.30am on Wednesday.

Night vigil
Meanwhile, the organisers of a night vigil for Malema were granted permission to gather at a Polokwane hall on Tuesday evening. 

Police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the meeting would be held at Nirvana Hall in Polokwane, but said it was not clear what time the vigil would get underway.

Any group would have to seek permission from authorities to hold a night vigil, he said earlier.

Limpopo ANC Youth League spokesperson Klaas Mabunda said that the league had been granted permission by the Polokwane municipality. "All members of the society must not be intimidated. The prayer service has been convened legally and it's continuing," he said.

Mulaudzi said security would be tight around the court and in Seshego, Malema's home town.

The South African Police Service would watch and patrol the area in and around the court, the city centre and identified areas in Seshego, Mulaudzi said.

Streets around the court would be closed to traffic from 6am on Wednesday. Mulaudzi advised motorists to avoid the area around the court for the whole day.

Only a limited number of people would be allowed into the courtroom, he said. "Tight control will be enforced by members of the private security company at the court, as well as members of the SAPS.

"No dangerous weapons, such as firearms, knives, pangas or knobkerries will be allowed onto the court premises as well as surrounding areas," Mulaudzi said. – Sapa