Julius Malema’s co-accused in more legal trouble

2014-04-24 13:28

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The businessman accused alongside Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema of corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering faces up to 30 days in prison after being found to be in contempt of court.

Lesiba Gwangwa now has until early next week to pay a R50 000 fine – and reveal who the shareholders are behind his companies, including the controversial On-Point Engineers.

City Press first took Gwangwa to court in 2011 after he refused to hand over the securities registers for On-Point, SGL Engineering Projects and Gwama Properties, which contain a full list of the companies’ shareholders.

At the time, On-Point was in the news because of a R52 million contract that was allegedly unlawfully awarded to the company in 2009 in Limpopo.

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found in October 2012 that the department did not follow proper guidelines in awarding the tender, and that On-Point and Malema had improperly benefited from the contract.

Madonsela found that some of the money paid to On-Point was transferred to Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust.

According to South African law, it is a criminal offence to block a proper application to see a company’s securities register, so when Gwangwa refused City Press’ request, the newspaper took the matter to the North Gauteng High Court.

In November 2012, Judge Sulet Potterill ordered Gwangwa to open his companies’ securities registers for inspection.

Since then, Gwangwa has unsuccessfully attempted to appeal the decision and has not complied with the court’s order.

Yesterday, North Gauteng High Court Judge Joseph Raulinga ruled that Gwangwa was in contempt of court.

He was given five days from yesterday to pay a R50 000 fine and to hand over the information requested by City Press, failing which he faces up to 30 days in prison.

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