/ 25 September 2012

Malema business associates granted R40 000 bail

Four business associates of axed ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema were granted bail of R40 000 each by the Polokwane Magistrate's Court.
Four business associates of axed ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema were granted bail of R40 000 each by the Polokwane Magistrate's Court.

Kagisho Dichabe, Lesiba Gwangwa, Helen Moreroa and Selby Manthata all made an appearance in court on Tuesday. Four companies were listed on the charge sheet: Segwalo Consulting, On-Point Engineers, Gwama Consulting, and Oceanside Trading.

Prosecutor Billy Moalusi did not oppose bail. He said the four had cooperated with authorities and there was no evidence that they were a flight risk.

Magistrate Janine Ungerer ordered that their passports be handed over. Counsel for each of the accused read out their affidavits. All four proclaimed their innocence on charges including fraud, corruption and money laundering.

In his affidavit, Dichabe stated he had four minor children and asked to be released on bail. He said he was able to pay R40 000 bail. He said he was innocent of fraud charges against him, adding he was not prone to violence or dangerous.

The state alleges the four misrepresented themselves to the Limpopo department of roads and transport, and a R52-million contract was awarded to one of the accused. The court heard that the fraud charges also related to designs owned by the department.

They would return to court on November 30, Hawks spokesperson McIntosh Polela said.

According to a City Press report, public protector Thuli Madonsela said Malema had made millions from the R52-million tender by On-Point. Although 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, the newspaper reported. 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, whose Ratanang Family Trust was one of two shareholders in On-Point, would appear in the Polokwane District Court at 8.30am on Wednesday. Malema faces a charge of fraud and money-laundering relating to the On-Point tender.

The four accused handed themselves over to the police on Tuesday morning before their court appearance. Several police officers were stationed inside the court on Tuesday.

Courtroom J was packed to capacity with reporters, photographers and the public.

Outside the court, the police cordoned off streets around the courthouse. Police nyalas and vans were parked across streets. Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the police had put their security plan into action a day before Malema was scheduled to appear. Police wanted to be prepared for a planned night vigil for Malema, and to ensure people were safe, he said. – Sapa