Julius Malema trust is no secret - ANCYL

2011-07-25 12:30

Johannesburg - The trust reportedly used to fund ANC Youth League president Julius Malema's lifestyle is no secret, league secretary Sindiso Magaqa said on Monday.

The trust was used for various charitable causes, he told a media briefing in Johannesburg.

"The trust is registered with the master of the high court and it is public," he said.

On Sunday, the City Press reported that Malema was the sole trustee of a "secret" family trust, registered in the name of his 5-year-old son, which he allegedly uses to finance his lavish lifestyle.

This emerged a week after reports that Malema was building a R16m house in Johannesburg's upmarket Sandown suburb. Responding to the reports last week, Malema said how he funded his lifestyle was nobody's business.

Ratanang Family Trust

According to the City Press, the Ratanang Family Trust was registered at the Office of the Master of the High Court in Pretoria in 2008, just weeks after Malema was first elected president of the youth league.

Citing two “independent, well-placed sources with knowledge of Malema's financial dealings”, City Press says the trust is being used “by the youth leader and his benefactors” to fund his lifestyle.

“Thousands of rands” are deposited into the account on a regular basis, says the report, quoting the sources.

"Frequent deposits are being made from different banks, especially in Limpopo.”

City Press said Malema had denied that the trust was being used to launder illicit funds, but “declined to divulge its purpose or bank balance”.

On Saturday, Malema sought an urgent court interdict to stop City Press publishing a report on the trust, but this was dismissed by Judge Colin Lamont in the South Gauteng High Court.

Lamont ruled that Malema was a public figure and that publishing the story was in the public interest. Further, he had found the evidence contained in the City Press story to be “credible”.

Malema's legal team reportedly argued that his public image could be seriously damaged if details of the trust fund were published.

The City Press had opposed the application.

Opposition parties have called on the SA Revenue Service to investigate his wealth, claiming it is not compatible with his reported R25 000 a month salary.

'Private life remains private'

On Sunday, the DA said it would write to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, requesting her to investigate the latest allegations levelled against Malema.

The ANC came to Malema's defence saying his "private life remains private". Spokesperson Brian Sokuto said he was neither a member of Parliament nor a government official so it was not unethical for him to be involved in business.

AfriForum, an Afrikaner lobby group suing Malema over his singing of a liberation struggle song containing the words "shoot the boer", lodged a criminal complaint against the youth league leader at the Brooklyn police station in Pretoria on Sunday.

A corruption case was opened against him in accordance with the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004.

Writing on the blog, Constitutionally Speaking, legal expert Professor Pierre de Vos said Malema could face up to 15 years in jail if convicted in terms of the Act and his assets could be confiscated.

De Vos wrote that the Act criminalised almost "all imaginable forms of corruption in rather broad terms". This made it easy, "in theory", he said, to secure a successful prosecution in a corruption case.

He further wrote that the allegations contained in the City Press report "completely destroy Malema's credibility".

This could be restored by Malema suing the paper for defamation. If he chose not to do this, De Vos believed it would indicate that he was corrupt.

- SAPA

Read more on:    ancyl  |  julius malema  |  corruption  |  politics
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