South Africa

AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY

The bucks stop here: Businessman Hamilton Ndlovu to have properties and funds seized over PPE contracts

Thabiso Hamilton Ndlovu. (Photo: Twitter / @kulanicool)

The Special Investigating Unit and the National Health Laboratory Services have been granted an order to freeze controversial businessman’s properties and a trust account worth R42-million.

On Thursday, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) and the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS) were granted an order by the Special Tribunal to freeze luxury properties and a trust account to the value of R42-million, belonging to entities linked to controversial businessman, Hamilton Ndlovu.

The SIU is investigating corruption allegations that involve eight companies linked to Ndlovu. In 2020, the eight companies owned by Ndlovu and his associates received Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) contracts worth a total of R172-million from the NHLS. 

“On 31 August 2021, the SIU and the NHLS obtained an interim interdict in the Tribunal preserving properties and funds under the control of Ndlovu worth approximately R42-million. This follows upon a similar preservation order obtained by Sars seizing approximately R60-million worth of funds and assets,” reads the SIU’s statement. 

According to the statement, the properties and money are preserved pending a review application which will be brought by the SIU and the NHLS to set aside the procurement transactions and requiring Ndlovu and his associates to pay back the money. 

According to the SIU’s statement, “the SIU and NHLS have ascertained that the transactions were obtained by abusing the emergency procurement procedures that were adopted by the NHLS in order to respond to the Covid-19 disaster during the first half of 2020.”

Ndlovu was allegedly “the controlling mind” for all eight companies and “the direct and indirect beneficiary of the funds flowing to them from the payments made by the NHLS,” read the SIU statement.

Having analysed Ndlovu’s bank accounts, the SIU found that “with the exception of an amount of about R15-million that appears to have been used for the purchase of PPE, the funds received from the NHLS were not used to obtain supplies of PPE in order to deliver upon the contracts to the NHLS”. 

Ndlovu came into the spotlight when he posted a video on social media of five of his new luxury vehicles, which included three Porsches, a Lamborghini Urus and a Jeep Grand Cherokee, worth an estimated R11-million. 

Ndlovu later issued an apology for the video, saying it was in “poor taste” and was not meant to “trivialise” the challenges poor South Africans faced. 

In September 2020, the South African Revenue Service (Sars) executed a provisional preservation order against Ndlovu and his companies, seizing three of his Porsches and freezing over R6-million in his bank accounts.

Among the known assets listed were a Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet, a Porsche Cayenne S Coupe and a Porsche Panamera GTS Sport. 

The order cited Ndlovu and five companies — Hamilton Holdings, Hamilton Projects, Mok Plus One, Abompetha, and Feliham — as respondents.

Ndlovu is the sole director of Hamilton Holdings Pty Ltd and the sole member of Hamilton Projects CC. Feliham’s sole director is Felicia Sekete who has been identified as Ndlovu’s fiancée. 

Of the NHLS transactions:

  • Hamilton Holdings was paid R7.2-million on March 31, 2020;
  • Abompetha was paid R17.4-million on April 24;
  • Feliham was paid R7.2-million on April 24; and
  • Mok Plus One was paid R17.8-million on April 29.

When the Pretoria high court confirmed the preservation order granted to Sars against Ndlovu and several companies, acting Deputy Judge President Roland Sutherland, described the other companies as “mere fronts”. 

The court found that Mok Plus One paid R17.7-million to Ndlovu, Abompetha paid a total of R17.46-million to Ndlovu, and Feliham paid R14.99-million into the same Ashburton Investment bank account into which Hamilton Holdings made a R30-million deposit. 

Last month, Sekete and Michael Sass, the NHLS’ suspended chief financial officer, appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court. The pair is facing charges of the Contravention of the Public Finance Management Act, fraud, and theft. 

They were granted R20,000 bail. The case has been postponed to 5 October.

When Daily Maverick called Ndlovu for comment on Thursday, he asked for questions to be sent via Whatsapp. He had not replied by the time of publication. DM

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All Comments 26

  • The term “businessman” is being used very loosely by the press.
    Radavan Crejir is also a “businessman”.

    Let’s be clear that these are criminals, not business people. Business people work hard for decades to build up a brand and reputation through excellent customer service.

    These are criminals, looking for a quick buck, never intending to actually deliver the service. Just take the money and run,

    Calling these thugs “businessmen” is an insult to every hardworking entrepreneur in SA.

  • Spot on Nick, drug dealers and pimps are in the same league. Calling these bottom feeders who passed their matric with 30% of 3 subjects “business men” is an insult to the real ones, and the media should be a little more precise in their language.

  • I remember his post bragging about his luxury vehicles- what a story of divine justice! Again a disgusting PPE scandal – Criminals making money from sickness and death-the ultimate question is who in the health department was ultimately responsible for giving him these tenders when people were so ill?

    • What gets me is he is given a great opportunity to supply products at a competitive price and build a business. How many honest people would have loved that chance.

  • Not sure why he and the Steinhof guy have still not been arrested. I’d rather see those two held account than Zuma in as much as Zuma were a mere puppet of people like Hamilton whilst truly believing that he was owed all of the largesse because of apartheid. Hamilton and Steinhof man are opportunists, greedy and take what is not theirs because they can and want

    • They are all of the same ilk. They know how to make money for themselves through any means necessary, but have no idea how to create value in the SA economy.

    • I don’t think the Steinhoff harry has even seen his assets seized or his bank accounts frozen. I think white collar crime is a little too complicated (and possibly too much like hard work) for this bling-obsessed young man…

  • Please tell it like it is. Ndlovu is not a businessman. Living large off the proceeds of irregularly awarded govt tenders does not qualify one as a businessman.

    His ‘wealth’ that is referred to is not his ‘wealth’. It is the net proceeds of industrial scale fraud & corruption.

    Tenderpreneur fraudsters should not be glorified in any way whatsoever. Pour scorn upon them at every given opportunity.
    Shame them and name them.

    They are not ‘excellence ‘ nor are they heroes.

  • The irony is that the only reason Ndlovu is being pursued is because he blatantly advertised his wealth in the public domain.
    The SIU and SARS were momentarily woken from their slumber and had no choice but to act.
    Why are they asleep at the wheel on the literally hundreds of similar cases?
    One cannot drive around the Northern Suburbs of Jhb or the Cape seaboard without tripping over myriads of exotic and high end vehicles whose dealers report the best sales in their history.
    Top-end house sales are booming.
    Where are the life-style audits?
    SARS, the FIC and SARB have pre-emptive rights of seizure and it is for the party to prove their innocence( just like any normal citizen/ tax payer).
    I cannot think or recall any other cases like this being pursued.

    WHY NOT??!

    • In one of Richard Poplack’s articles he refers to state capture beginning the day the VOC landed at Table Bay…
      I hope this helps answer your question

  • Yes, where are the Streinhof arrests? But let’s hope this is going to snowball and many many other “businessmen” and corrupt officials will have their assets seized and be charged! But why only R20 000 bail?

    • The simple answer is that the Steinhoff fraud is too complicated for the people that need to investigate it. The forensic audits have already been done and all it would take is to employ private sector advocates to work with the auditors to put the info together and draw up the dockets for the SAPS/Hawks to hand to the NPA to draw up charges. I seem to recall that Steinhoff had to fund the Hawks to investigate them as there were insufficient resources for the Hawks to do that on their own.

  • He needs to change the company name from “Mok Plus One” to “Mok the poor plus millions”.
    What a clown… Again, show your wealth by buying fancy cars. Boggles the mind but says a lot about him and other trough feeders.
    As they say in Afrikaans “kry vir jou”.

  • As this is blatant fraud, theft , corruption why are no criminal charges not laid against these gangsters i.e. both Ndlovu as well as those who allowed him to get away with these crimes?