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Postponed — R74m fraud and corruption case against former state security minister Bongo and 11 others

Postponed — R74m fraud and corruption case against former state security minister Bongo and 11 others
Former minister Bongani Bongo appears at the Nelspruit Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on 8 November 2022. (Photo:Supplied)

Proceedings failed to get under way after the court heard that one of the accused had acquired a new attorney, who needed time to study the case and prepare a plea explanation.

On Tuesday, the prosecution was ready to proceed with its R74-million fraud and corruption case against former state security minister Bongani Bongo. The scene was set in the Nelspruit Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for Bongo and his 11 co-accused to enter their plea explanations. 

However, the proceedings failed to get under way after the court heard that one of the accused had acquired a new attorney, who needed time to study the case and prepare a plea explanation.

The case was postponed to next Wednesday.

Bongo, with Robert Barwise, Patrick Donald Chirwa, Harrington Sizwakhendaba Dhlamini, Blessing Mduduzi Singwane, David Boy Dube, Sipho Joel Bongo (Bongani’s brother), Vusi Willem Magagula, Bongani Louis Henry Sibiya, Elmon Lawrence Mdaka, Sibongile Mercy Mdaka and Sandile Nkosi, face 69 counts of fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravening the Public Finance Management Act.

The companies Little River Trading 156, Broad Market Trading 204, Bongiveli and Pfuka Afrika have also been charged.

It is alleged that the accused defrauded the Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlements (DoHS) during the purchase of two farms between April 2008 and December 2016.

In the first transaction, David Boy Dube, in his capacity as head of the department, is alleged to have entered into contracts for the purchase of portion 82 of the farm Naauwpoort.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Former State Security Minister and his 11 co-accused are charged with multiple counts of graft involving the purchase of two farms amounting to R74-million.

According to the State, a deed of sale was drawn up, stating that the purchase price of the farm was R37.5-million. The farm was then alleged to have been purchased by the DoHS, supposedly on behalf of the Emalahleni Local Municipality. 

The State alleges that the owner of the farm, Petrus van Tonder, was paid R15-million for the farm. The balance of the R37.5-million was allegedly paid into the trust account of Singwane Attorneys in their capacity as conveyancers appointed by the DoHS. The attorneys, purportedly not instructed by the department, are alleged to have paid R22.5-million to Little River Trading.

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In the second alleged illegal transaction, according to court documents: “Bongiveli entered into the sale and purchase agreement with Fremax Farms, for a portion of Rietspruit [farm] for an amount of R10.5-million. However, Msukaligwa Local Municipality’s valuation of the portion of the Rietspruit farm was at R1.6-million. In March 2011, the Department of Human Settlements paid over R52-million to Singwane. Subsequently, the law firm furnished Freemax with a guarantee of R15.6-million.”

The property was transferred to Bongiveli from Msukaligwa Municipality and later sold back to the DoHS for R32-million.

The State claims this all happened under Bongo’s watch as head of legal services for the Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlements. The State also contends Bongo “recommended the appointment of Singwane Attorneys as conveyancers for the department” for these purchases.

Singwane Attorneys allegedly paid Bongo R1-million through his wife’s business account and paid deposits for two vehicles registered in his brother’s name. DM

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  • Paul Savage says:

    ANC former Minister of State Security caught up in a R74 million fraud and corruption scandal. I’m shocked! Surely not the ANC that so many of us believed would be the champion of the poor and downtrodden? But Bongo’s obviously a bright and innovative guy. Maybe the ANC should consider him for a Top Six position? Or maybe he can be assigned to investigate the Phala Phala scandal?

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Corrupt expenditure is the gift that keeps giving the ANC light fingers more scope. What fools to think they could get away with something so blatant. It would be good to see a graph of politicians charged with crimes, convicted and serving sentences at some point.

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