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2013-01-20 10:00

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State claims Malema received R12m from his Limpopo cronies

Nearly R12?million.

That’s the pile of cash the state claims Julius Malema, the former ANC Youth League leader and now corruption accused, got from his Limpopo cronies.

And, more than a month after he was charged with money laundering in September last year, Malema still received cash payments from his alleged partner in crime, businessman Lesiba Gwangwa.

These and other startling claims about Malema’s alleged ill-gotten fortune are contained in affidavits handed to the North Gauteng High Court to obtain an order to attach a farm owned by Gwangwa.

On Thursday, in a separate case, Gwangwa and Malema received a further blow when the North Gauteng High Court granted the SA Revenue Service (Sars) a provisional order to place their companies under curatorship over unsettled taxes.

The farm attachment affidavits were made by Willie Hofmeyr, the deputy national director of public prosecutions, and Trevor White, the director of forensic services at auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The papers describe in detail the paper trail, which they claim saw millions paid to Malema’s Ratanang trust account to help pay for a farm.

The money, prosecutors charge, came after Gwangwa – in whose On-Point company Malema’s Ratanang trust is a shareholder – helped the business associates receive tenders and contracts from the Limpopo provincial government.

One of those named in the affidavits as a Malema benefactor who made payments to the Ratanang trust was property tycoon David Mabilu.

Mabilu, who made headlines with a lavish R15?million wedding in Mauritius in 2011, which featured Malema and other political heavyweights as paid-for guests, confirmed to City Press this week he had made payments to the trust.

However, Mabilu said the R300?000 he paid through his Vharanani Properties company in 2009 was a “donation” to build a church in Malema’s hometown.

He said that the payments were disclosed in his company financial statements and that he had not been approached by prosecutors.

In 2011, according to court documents, Mabilu also made payments of R2.44?million to a Gwangwa-owned company. At the time, Gwangwa’s On-Point was running “a programme management unit” for the Limpopo transport department.

It is alleged to have dispensed tenders in return for kickbacks and is the focus of a criminal investigation. The papers do not say what Mabilu’s payment was for.

Mabilu said his companies worked with subcontractors and any such payments could have been for “subcontracted services rendered”.

The affidavits were used to obtain a preservation order for the 139-hectare Schuilkraal farm in Limpopo, which Gwanga and Malema bought.

The order was granted. Malema, Gwangwa and three other business associates are standing trial in Polokwane on multiple charges.

Malema is accused of using his political clout to win public contracts through a complex pyramid of firms. He faces 51 charges, including racketeering, corruption and fraud.

City Press reported last week that Malema was, as a result of a R16?million tax bill, facing bankruptcy, while his friends and allies had abandoned him in droves.

The affidavits chronicle how On-Point was awarded a R52?million contract for the programme management unit deal and how money flowed back to Malema.

Thirteen payments from On-point to Ratanang, totalling R1.3?million, were made between October 2010 and November 2011.

A further R6.35?million was deposited into the Ratanang trust between January 2009 and November 2012. Half of it was in cash deposits.

Virtually all the cheques were also made out to cash. Cronies paid millions more to help Gwangwa and Malema buy the farm that is registered in the name of Gwama Properties.

“Ratanang was set up by Malema to be used as a conduit through which he could channel money,” said White in his affidavit. White described how Malema used Ratanang to fund his lavish lifestyle.

Between April 2009 and April 2011, Malema spent almost R400?000 at boutiques such as Guess, Armani, Louis Vuitton and Dunhill.

Malema wrote R40?000 and R50?000 cheques in one day to Vigano boutique store in Sandton.

Meanwhile, the Sars order issued by the High Court on Thursday comes on the heels of outstanding taxes owed by Gwangwa and his companies, including On-Point, Mminathoko Infrastructure, Segwalo Consulting, Qualis Health and Safety Consultants, SGL Engineering Projects and the Gwangwa Family Trust.

The court authorised the curator to sell a basket of properties across the country and also ordered Gwangwa and his companies to hand over all vehicles to the curator within 14 days.

Malema said he was not going to comment on any of the detail in the affidavit as the matter was before court.

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