/ 13 February 2021

The pensioner who ‘fronted’ for R10m of a family’s capture of SAPS

House In Soshanguve Etx 1 M Block Photo Delwyn Verasamy
The M&G visited Khoza's Soshanguve home, a government-issued RDP house, where a neat extra residence has been added to the yard. (Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

A pensioner, who receives state old-age grants, was allegedly used to front three companies owned by the same family to swindle the South African Police Services (SAPS) out of R10-million. 

That, however, is just the initial leg of the National Prosecution Authority’s (NPA) investigation into fraudulent tenders and the “capture” of corrupt employees at the South African Police Service (SAPS), and the family under investigation could finally be implicated in amounts as high as a staggering R1-billion.

The investigative reports form part of the evidence the NPA is expected to use against Kishane Chetty, his father Krishna Chetty, and 43 other people and 26 “fraudulent” companies in an alleged four-year, syndicate-like looting of SAPS resources. They face more than 75 charges of fraud, corruption, money laundering, theft and forgery amounting to R100-million. 

Salamina Khoza, 66, from Tshwane is listed in the reports as the sole director of three companies allegedly directly involved in swindling more than R10-million worth of SAPS contracts on behalf of the Chetty family. Sources told the Mail & Guardian that Khoza received a measly R5 000 monthly payment for the scam, in which she was listed in company records as a director.  

In its documents, which the M&G has seen, the state further asserts that Khoza receives a R1 780 monthly old-age grant from the government. 

Khoza is accused of having kicked the scam off in April 2016 with the first contract of R53 497 to supply four voice recorders and four cordless phones to the SAPS at what investigators said were grossly inflated prices. 

The M&G visited Khoza’s Soshanguve home, a government-issued RDP house, where a neat extra residence has been added to the yard. 

The M&G sent detailed questions about Khoza’s alleged fraud to her legal representative, advocate Timothy Ramabulana. 

Ramabulana said: “As advocates, we are not allowed, in terms of our rules and ethics, to comment in the media about ongoing cases which we are involved in.”

Ramabulana added that he would send the M&G his attorney of record’s contact details. Ramabulana neither mentioned the attorney’s name nor sent the contact information, despite repeated requests.

Last week, the M&G reported that Kishane, 28, and Krishna, 64, are accused of leading an internal SAPS racket in securing more than 50 “fraudulent contracts” from April 2016 to July 2020. Sources also revealed that this is merely the first leg of a probe into the Chetty family’s alleged SAPS capture of almost R1-billion in total. 

It’s alleged that 29 SAPS employees in the supply-chain department, including 23 senior police officers, subverted procurement laws and regulations to secure lucrative contracts for the Chetty family. 

Each contract, investigators said, was intentionally valued at less than R500 000 to circumvent treasury regulations, which require quotes from three different companies for procurement exceeding R10 000, but not higher than R500 000. Contracts for more than R500 000 must be put out to tender. 

Khoza’s three “companies” — Isasalethu Construction and Office Consumables, Sifikile Furniture and Projects and Siyabonga Trading and Projects — are said to have participated in “competitive bids” whenever the SAPS embarked on procurement, where only Kishane Chetty’s companies would be invited. 

NPA documents show how the Chetty’s used relatives, friends and employees as alleged fronts for their companies. The state listed Kishane Chetty as the “beneficial owner” of all 26 entities, as he was the sole access to the firms’ accounts and their respective internet banking facilities.

An example of how Khoza’s companies would be used in alleged fake competitive quotes was a 2016 contract worth R170 000 to repair and replace air conditioners at the Pretoria central station. The NPA alleged that the number of air conditioners increased from four to 14 between July and November 2016 to inflate prices.

“[Siyabonga Trading’s] written quotation, through the instrumentality of accused 29 [Khoza] misrepresented that accused 67 [Siyabonga] was independent of accused 60 [Isimbali Trading] and accused 61 [Klipfontein General Dealers], and were therefore in competition with each other. 

“The three companies were beneficially owned by accused two [Kishane Chetty]. By inviting three companies which were beneficially owned by accused two, an impression was created that the prescripts of the law were complied with,” reads an NPA report. 

The probe also found that Kishane Chetty misrepresented his companies as all being 100% black female-owned, even when a white woman, Lorette Joubert, accused number one, allegedly fronted for two companies. Kishane employed Joubert, the state said. 

One of Joubert’s alleged front companies, Vatika Trading, accused number 71, is accused of receiving about R85-million to mark and unmark police vehicles in all nine provinces. The initial “markings tender” was worth R486 000 in April 2017 for the Western Cape only. 

Kineil Muthray, the legal representative for both Kishane Chetty and Joubert, emphasised that his clients were innocent, adding that the state’s case was weak because the matter had yet to be enrolled for trial. 

“What is important to remember is that the state only considers what they have in the dockets and base their opinion on this. This information is not always the complete set of facts, and I believe this is one such time.

“There is much to be told of this matter. However, given the history of the matter and to avoid any prejudice to my clients, I am not able to divulge any more details,” Muthray said.

All 71 accused are expected back at the Pretoria magistrate’s court in March.