DAYS OF ZONDO

Millions in laundered cash hidden in Dudu Myeni’s house, State Capture commission hears

By Ferial Haffajee 18 February 2020
Caption
Former SAA board chairperson Dudu Myeni. The original photo has been altered. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Veli Nhlapo)

Mr X, an in-camera witness, continued his testimony on how the Mhlathuze Water Board was allegedly looted by a senior executive. On Tuesday he claimed his company laundered cash for alleged delinquent director Dudu Myeni.

“I would go to the houses and hide the money without telling the domestic worker and then I would call her (Dudu Myeni) and tell her. I would hide the cash in the office with the files. Sometimes, I would change the spot,” the in-camera witness, Mr X, testified at the Zondo Commission on Tuesday. He also revealed how he cashed allegedly laundered money for Dudu Myeni and paid it over to her either in cash or in different spots in two of her Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal homes.

The money also came from contracts that Myeni subcontracted to Mr X whom she has known since 1997 when she first facilitated a contract for him to supply Jojo Water Tanks to the Mhlatuze Water Board for the Nkandla municipality.

Myeni was chairperson of the Mhlatuze Water Board where her reign was more chequered even than her time at the helm of SAA, for which she is facing delinquent director charges in a case brought by OUTA and the SAA Pilots Union. That case is also continuing this week.

For two days, Mr X has revealed how his company laundered cash out of the water board in a system allegedly masterminded by Myeni and by Mboniseni Majola, a former executive and engineer at the board.  

Under cross-examination by Advocate Kate Hofmeyr, Mr X has revealed at the State Capture Commission of Inquiry how the accounts of his company, Isibonelo Construction, were used to launder millions of rand in transactions into and out of his account into four construction and engineering companies, the most well-known of which is Stefanutti Stocks.

Stefanutti Stocks has refused to provide an affidavit stating its version of events to the State Capture commission, said Hofmeyr on Monday (17 February 2020). 

In hours of testimony on February 18 2020, Mr X revealed how Majola had created fictitious invoices for his company which he would dictate to Mr X’s secretary. He would then take the invoices, get them authorised at the Water Board and cash would pour into Isibonelo’s accounts.

Majola would then tell Mr X who to pay the money out to in a classic example of money laundering. The amounts totalled roughly R10-million.  South Africa’s water boards provide the infrastructure for water supply and also oversee the country’s dams.

Mr X on Monday (February 17 2020) made an application for his evidence to be heard in camera because Myeni had twice called his daughter to ask why he was making trouble. In a first call, Myeni had said, “Why is your father selling us out?” and in a different call, she had asked why the woman’s father was “telling everyone” how the “facilitated funds” had been paid.

On Monday, February 17 2020, Myeni’s son Thalente Myeni appeared before the State Capture commission under subpoena and testified that his company Premier Attraction 1016 had received contract payments for work he could not recall. Funds had been paid from Premier Attraction into Mr X’s accounts and were then diverted into payments to the Jacob G Zuma Foundation where Dudu Myeni remains chairperson. 

She had also requested cash payments from those funds, testified Mr X. On Tuesday (February 18 2020), Mr X said he had made cash such payments to Myeni on different dates and in different amounts. These requests did not surprise him as she would often use his business to carry out work on the contracts she won or she would use his business as a front. She would phone him to let him know when deposits would be made.

On one occasion, Myeni had requested he withdraw R1-million in cash but he could not as his bank did not allow big cash withdrawals. 

The pair became close friends from 1997 when she first assisted him with a contract. “We got very close to the extent where we became kind of related,” said Mr X through an interpreter. “Our friendship grew very strong.” He did not explain why he was blowing the whistle now.

Asked by the commission chairperson Judge Raymond Zondo if he was comfortable playing the role of an intermediary (to money laundering), Mr X said he decided to let it continue happening because he felt that complaining would play into the stereotype of black people being jealous of each other.

“I am a man who is able to keep secrets,” Mr X told Judge Zondo and added that Myeni did not tell him why she needed so much cash and neither did he ever ask her for reasons. DM

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