South Africa


AFU seizes homes, cars valued at R75-million in Blue Lights case swoop 

AFU seizes homes, cars valued at R75-million in Blue Lights case swoop 
Former acting national police commissioner General Kgomotso Phahlane. (Photo: Leila Dee Dougan)

The Asset Forfeiture Unit has seized assets worth R75-million belonging to former acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane and his co-accused who are implicated in the R191-million Blue Light SAPS case. The matter relates to an irregular tender contract awarded for the supply of emergency equipment for SAPS vehicles.

On Friday, 26 August, a court-appointed curator together with Sheriffs of the Court, members of the Hawks and members of the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) swooped on residential addresses in Sandton, Pretoria, Boksburg, Springs and Sasolburg to execute a provisional restraint order following an application by the AFU.

The order, which was granted on 18 August 2022 by the high court of South Africa Gauteng division, identified assets with an equitable value of R75-million.

Investigating Directorate spokesperson Sindisiwe Seboka said: “The assets include at least 19 immovable properties linked to the accused as well as approximately 115 vehicles which includes three trucks. Investigations are ongoing to trace further assets.”

Blue lights: Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya.

Lieutenant General Bonang Mgwenya. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

She said the assets — that had been restrained as a result of collaboration between National Prosecuting Authorities (NPA), AFU and Investigating Directorate (ID) in the fight against corruption — belonged to SAPS officials who were allegedly in cahoots with a service provider linked to the controversial ‘Blue Light’ case.

The matter stems from a contract to supply emergency warning equipment for the SA Police Service. The contract was worth R191-million and R65-million was paid to the service provider, Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement (Pty) Ltd. 

The accused in the matter are Phahlane, former Deputy National Commissioner Bonang Mgwenya, former Gauteng Police Commissioner Deliwe de Lange, Gauteng Deputy Police Commissioner Nombhuruza Lettie Napo, Lieutenant-General Ramahlapi Mokwena, retired Divisional Commissioner Brigadier James Ramanjalum, Sergeant Maetapese Joseph Mulaiwa and Ravichandran Swamivel Pillay.

Blue lights accused in court

From right: James Ramanjalum, Ramahlapi Mokwena, Maricha Joubert, Nolan Prithiviraj, Kumarasen Prithiviraj, Lorette Joubert, Salamina Khoza and Kishene Chetty in the dock of the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court on 8 February 2022. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

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The 168-page charge sheet shows that soon after being appointed as acting National Commissioner on 14 October 2015, Phahlane set to work.

Elaborating on the criminal matter Seboka said the case involves a corruptly awarded contract by the SAPS to Instrumentation for Traffic Law Enforcement for the supply and fitment of blue lights and sirens to Gauteng SAPS vehicles.

“The sole director of this entity is Vimpie Phineas Tlalefang Manthata. Manthata and his entity are accused in the criminal case which returns to court on 2 November 2022. They are joined by several high-ranking officials who were in SAPS employment at the time,” Seboka said.

Blue lights property seizure

Asset Forfeiture Unit seizes assets of corrupt SAPS officials and service Provider worth R75-million. (Photo: Supplied)

Seboka explained that the officials were accused of acting in concert to ensure that Manthata’s entity was awarded the contract and was paid approximately R65-million. This is equivalent to an estimated R121-million in present-day terms. 

She added that there was evidence that the SAPS officials were mostly rewarded with cash payments, which in several instances appeared to have covered their monthly expenses, leaving their salaries largely intact.

Blue lights seizures by the AFU

Asset Forfeiture Unit seizes assets of corrupt SAPS officials and service Provider worth R75-million. (Photo: Supplied)

The evidence also indicates that in certain instances the reward was in the form of the purchase of luxury cars and expensive clothing and accessories paid for by Manthata.

According to Seboka further investigations had indicated that Manthata and certain of the SAPS officials had been in repeated communication during the procurement and payment process. The communications were linked to the withdrawal of substantial amounts in cash by Manthata and the receipt of cash by the SAPS officials, she said.

Upon a successful conviction, the AFU would make an application “to institute a confiscation enquiry aimed ultimately at the recovery of the stolen funds in terms of the provisions of Chapter 5 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998,” Seboka said.

Asset Forfeiture Unit seizes assets of corrupt SAPS officials and service Provider worth R75 million.
(Photo: Supplied)

In a statement issued today, the head of the AFU, advocate Ouma Rabaji-Rasethaba, stated that criminals, especially those who are engaged in corruption, will not be allowed to hold to their ill-gotten gains and that property that is proceeds of crime, will be seized and forfeited. 

The matter is back in court on 2 November. DM

Asset Forfeiture Unit seizes assets of corrupt SAPS officials and service Provider worth R75-million. (Photo: Supplied)


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • virginia crawford says:

    Hope they’ll go to prison too.

  • Bill van Zyl van Zyl says:

    Back in the golden moments of his ascension to the presidential throne, our President said that all public officials would undergo lifestyle audits. Was he joking, or simply lying? How do senior police officers accumulate multiple millions in assets? It surely cannot be performance bonuses, nor salaries and allowances? Where does the money come from that results in asset seizures in the order of R75 million? Didn’t anyone see the red flags waving?

  • Chris 123 says:

    19 properties and 115 vehicles, my god sounds like mini Growthpoint and Hertz rentals, there’s only 8 of them. 😳

  • David Mark says:

    Such amazing news these past few weeks, dare we hope the tide has turned against the impunity of the corrupt.

  • Joe Soap says:

    Look at what these people do with the money they steal from us. Must take a particular person to believe they are entitled to live in luxury at others’ expense. Time to say goodbye to the ANC. No need to wait for the renewal. It will never come.

  • David Bristow says:

    Love that candy-twist, faux gold-inlay four-poster beds, such class, such taste!

  • Paula Savva says:

    I recently wondered how a EMPD traffic officer could afford to drive a brand new Golf R and shop at my local Woolies, now I get it!

  • Rob Wilson says:

    Trust the Police they said. Sure.

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