New questions in R Kelly arts department fiasco

2013-09-15 06:00

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The role of a company owned by a former spin doctor and payments of millions to a convicted fraudster raises new questions about the department of arts and culture’s R2.5 million R Kelly concert fiasco.

Last month, the department announced that R Kelly would no longer perform at the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day because he had left the country days before the August 17 event.

The department went on the attack, vowing to recoup the money it initially said was paid to Sichongoma Suppliers, a company contracted to bring the singer to the event.

The department even opened a case of fraud with the Sandton police.

Now City Press has confirmed that Crystal View Promotions, a company owned by former Gauteng provincial spokesperson Azwifarwi Radebe, was paid R2.5 million as part of the deal even though no agreement was signed with R Kelly.

Crystal View Promotions then paid the money into the account of Sichongoma Suppliers, owned by businessman Xolisile Guqaza, who has previous convictions for robbery.

But Guqaza said his only involvement in the deal entailed the use of his firm’s bank account by Crystal View and another entity to transfer the money. “I never did anything fraudulent. If there is anyone to answer, it is Crystal View.”

Radebe, who worked as a spokesperson in the Gauteng education department, refused to comment, referring City Press to the department of arts and culture.

The department’s Mack Lewele said a contract was signed with Radebe’s company. But reports last month said the department signed a contract with Sichongoma.

“There was no agreement between the department of arts and culture and Sichongoma. The department hired Crystal View as our implementing agency and procured all goods and services required, including artists.”

Crystal View, Lewele said, had a contract with VBT Consulting for the latter to “provide the services of R Kelly to perform at the event”.

But VBT Consulting’s Thabo Shogole said he knew nothing about criminal charges against him or his company. He would say nothing more, except that the matter was “sub judice” because of a pending civil case between him and Crystal View.

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Katlego Mogale said four suspects were arrested on charges of fraud and money laundering.

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