Juju’s dreams are wilting

2013-03-31 10:00

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Julius Malema’s dream of being a simple cabbage farmer may be slipping away, but the former ANC Youth League leader is still living on his farm outside Polokwane.

Earlier this month, the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) attached Malema’s R4 million farm after obtaining an order from the North Gauteng High Court.

Malema’s legal woes are far from over.

He has allegedly been hiding some of his assets from curators trying to settle his R16 million tax bill.

Now the curators want him to pay a R500 000 fine – or even go to jail – if he does not make a full disclosure of all his belongings.

The formerly outspoken leader has been keeping a low profile in recent months.

When City Press visited his farm last weekend, a man who identified himself as Malema’s cousin said Malema was still living on the farm.

“He lives here, but he is not here now,” the man said.

Some sections of the land are lying fallow, but the cabbages that Malema proudly showed off to City Press during a previous visit are still growing well.

Bulelwa Makeke, spokesperson for the NPA, said the farm now belonged to the state. The farm, she said, would be auctioned off in the next month.

“He hasn’t been evicted yet. He has to get a notice to vacate the property. That process is being handled by our curators. But it is ours now. Once it is attached, it belongs to the state.”

Sechaba Trust, which was appointed to take control of Malema’s assets on March 5, is bringing an urgent application in the North Gauteng High Court this week to compel Malema to make a full disclosure of all his assets.

They say some of Malema’s assets have already disappeared and may be hidden somewhere.

Neither Malema nor his lawyers responded to numerous phone calls requesting comment.

The Sechaba Trust curators, Cloete Murray and Aviwe Ndyamara, were appointed after the SA Revenue Service (Sars) obtained an order to attach Malema’s properties and assets.

He owes the taxman R16 million.

“The respondent has, despite demands, failed to make a full disclosure of all his assets and is, accordingly, wilfully in contempt of the order, hence the need to bring this application,” Murray said in his affidavit.

In court papers, the curators reveal that Malema had, at a March 7 meeting with the curators, undertaken to make a full disclosure of his assets.

His lawyers, Tumi Mokwena and Floyd Legodi, were present at the meeting, it says in the curators’ application.

But Malema did not meet the March 14 deadline set for full disclosure, the curators allege.

Mokwena sent an email to Murray three days later in which he claimed that they had not received the full copies of the Sars application.

Murray disputed this, saying these copies had been furnished at the March 7 meeting.

It is now alleged that certain assets disappeared from Malema’s Flora Park, Polokwane, home before the sheriff of the court could remove them.

“It emerges that various items were removed from the premises subsequent to them being attached, most probably by the respondent (Malema) or at the respondent’s behest,” Ndyamara said in his affidavit.

“It is imperative that the respondent urgently be ordered to make full disclosure of his assets, as until such disclosure is made, he may continue to dissipate assets.

“Until the identity of such assets is confirmed and their whereabouts, (Ndyamara) and I are unable to secure such assets and to prevent further dissipation,” Murray argues in his affidavit.

Malema was charged with money laundering last year and is a co-accused with his friend and former business partner, Lesiba Gwangwa.

According to the affidavits of deputy national director of public prosecutions Willie Hofmeyr and Trevor White, a director of forensic services at auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, millions were channelled through Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust.

The case is ongoing.

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