Call to criminally prosecute Aurora’s top brass for fraud

2014-05-19 00:00

THE directors of Aurora Empowerment Systems (AES) should be criminally prosecuted, including its chairperson Khulubuse Zuma, as well as the company’s legal representative and one of the liquidators who had allegedly played a “double role” during the liquidation of the Grootvlei mine.

This is the recommendation included in a “confidential” liquidators’ report that sister paper Beeld has seen.

The liquidators of this bankrupt mine near Springs, which belongs to Pamodzi Holdings and was managed for a few months by AES, are now looking for R1,8 billion that is reportedly missing.

The liquidators asked the Director of the National Prosecutions Authority (NPA) to criminally investigate the alleged fraudulent activities of AES’s directors, Zuma (President Jacob Zuma’s nephew), former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zodwa Mandela, Thulani Ngubane and Dato Raja Zainal Alam Shah, as well as the activities of Enver Motala, a liquidator of Pamodzi Holdings and Callie Smit, their legal representative. The liquidators also suggested that the actions of father and son Solly and Fazel Bhana, as well as of Michael Hulley, President Zuma’s attorney, should be investigated by the police.

NPA spokesperson Nathi Mncube said they have received the liquidators’ report and after studying it, had given it to the Hawks.

Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko on Friday said they have completed their investigation and the dossier is back with the NPA. Ramaloko said many people are being investigated for fraud.

Aurora spokesperson Ngubane said last week he knew nothing about the Hawks investigation.

“It is all just talk.” He said the liquidators now claimed R1,8 billion from Aurora. “We will go to court and contest this claim.”

General secretary of the Solidarity union, Gideon du Plessis, said it was “crying shame” that Aurora’s directors, who did not pay a cent for the mine, could reportedly steal millions of rands from it.

Solidarity is one of the creditors in the liquidation, representing workers at the mine. He said in the months during which AES managed the mine, assets were stripped “almost to the ground” and every possible law and regulation broken. He said “only their political connections” and the delays in court could save the people involved.

He said it was sad that no one had been prosecuted after four years, while thousands of miners were laid off without a pension or even unemployment insurance after the management never paid the relevant taxes and contributions to the government institutions.

Du Plessis said Aurora’s directors were still doing business, trading as Goldrich, and they have also tried to strip the assets of Blyvooruitsicht but the liquidators got a court order to keep them at bay.

The Mail & Guardian on Friday reported that R13 million, which had been provided by an American financier to help the struggling Aurora, had also disappeared.

• Motala was removed from the panel of liquidators in 2011 after it became known that he may have played a double role in liquidating Pamodzi. The Master of the High Court also found Motala had a criminal record.

Spokesperson for the Department of Justice Mthunzi Mhaga said he could not expand on the removal of Motala as a liquidator at Pamodzi.

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