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