Majali’s final fraud

2011-01-02 09:45

Controversial businessman Sandi Majali pulled off a final stunt two months before his death when he pretended to own the plush Sandton house he lived in to be released on bail.

City Press has established Majali did not own the house in the luxury Sandown neighbourhood where he and his son Phillip have been living for the past few years.

This did not prevent Majali from putting the house up for security when he was released on bail at the end of October after being arrested for allegedly hijacking mining company Kalahari Resources.

He was released on bail after bringing an urgent application. Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams confirmed to City Press Majali put up the property at Adrienne Street, Sandown as security.

Majali could not afford to pay a large amount and negotiated with the state to pay R10?000 bail if he put up a property as security.

When Majali died under mysterious circumstances on Boxing Day, he did not own any property under his name, was in serious financial trouble and facing at least three criminal probes in the new year.

A picture emerged this week of the once affluent business mogul who became infamous for channelling R11?million in state funds to the ANC before the 2004 national election, dying as a desperate man abandoned by his political allies.

His memorial service on Thursday was a low-key affair, with no cabinet ministers or senior ANC leaders attending.

Majali’s family and relatives gathered at the Sandown house this week, widely believed to be owned by Majali.

Deeds office records show, however, that the property was sold by Majali’s Imvume Management to African Olive Trading 77 for R3.5?million in January 2007.

The sole director of African Olive is Alex de Witt, chief executive of security firm Omega Risk ­Solutions.

De Witt said this week African Olive was fully owned by Omega. He claimed to have been unaware Majali was living in the house.

A company spokesperson said they were unaware Majali put their house up as security for bail and added this “borders on fraud”.

According to De Witt, a former defence force colonel, the firm bought the house from Majali with the prospect of renovating it into office space.

This has not happened. Omega Risk Solutions “permitted” Majali’s son, Phillip, to stay on in the house in the role of “caretaker”.

Neighbours said this week it was well known that Majali was staying in the house. “He was a very secretive man.

I often saw VIP cars at the house. They also had parties from time to time,” said one.

The relationship between Omega and Imvume goes back to 2004 when Majali was introduced to De Witt as a potential BEE partner.

“He was introduced to us as someone who was well connected; someone who could be of value for future business,” De Witt said.

Omega provides “integrated ­security solutions” and made headlines in 2006 when 16 of its employees were arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo on suspicion of plotting a coup.

The men were released and the company described the arrests as a “serious misunderstanding”.

According to De Witt, the company decided Majali was not a “suitable” partner after the Oilgate scandal broke.

Although they did not enter into a partnership, De Witt says, Majali asked Omega if they would be ­interested in buying the Sandown house from him.

“We thought it was a good transaction.

The location was good – the house was close to the Gautrain station.”

Omega “agreed” that Phillip ­Majali could stay on in the house.

Asked why the company continued to benefit Majali and his family ­after deciding he was not a suitable person to do business with, De Witt said City Press was making the “wrong assumption”.

“We allowed Phillip to stay in the house. If you have a house, you need someone to stay in it.

It was not a benefit to them, we were the ones who benefited.”

De Witt said Sandi Majali “never had a permanent address”.

He cut all contact with Majali three years ago, De Witt said.

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