Police searching for fraud accused Sam 'Mshengu' Tshabalala for 'skipping court'

2020-03-09 16:50
A Mpumalanga businessman is being hunted by police after allegedly failing to turn up to a court appearance.

A Mpumalanga businessman is being hunted by police after allegedly failing to turn up to a court appearance. (Samantha Lee-Jacobs)

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Police are searching for an Mpumalanga businessman charged with fraud after he failed to appear at the Witbank Magistrate's Court last Friday. 

Sam Tshabalala, 25, was expected to appear on March 6 in connection with a case where he is charged with fraud, corruption and possession of an unlicensed firearm. 

He is out on R200 000 bail.

Provincial Hawks spokesperson, Captain Dineo Sekgotodi, said Tshabalala did not provide reasons to the court for failing to show up.

“The prosecutor said Tshabalala forfeited his R200 000 bail,” Sekgotodi told News24.

“We are still searching for him. We also appeal to members of the communities to assist us to find him. A task team was set up a long time ago to investigate his cases. But I cannot divulge anything more regarding our investigations.”

Sekgotodi said they were also aware of a report in the Sowetan which suggested that Tshabalala had sent a suicide note to his wife and some of his employees, in which he allegedly claimed that his life was in danger. 

“I did not see it [suicide note] and I cannot comment,” she said.

Provincial SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, confirmed police were searching for Tshabalala. 

Citizenship

Tshabalala was arrested by the Hawks in September last year and charged with fraud, corruption and possession of an unlicensed firearm.

His arrest followed a long investigation into his citizenship, in which it was confirmed that his surname was Tshabalala and not Chabalala.

The Witbank Magistrate’s Court released him on R200 000 bail on September 16.

Tshabalala was thrust into the limelight in July last year when he posted pictures on social media platforms of a fleet of expensive cars travelling in convoy to the annual horse racing event, the Durban July.

At least 10 cars in the 72-vehicle convoy reportedly belonged to him.

Another case

Tshabalala, who goes by the name Mshengu, is facing another case where he allegedly attempted to bribe a senior police officer to release his car, which was confiscated during his first arrest and to make his initial case disappear, said Sekgotodi at the time.

He allegedly paid R50 000 as a down payment and later added another R70 000.

Tshabalala was charged with two counts of corruption for his latest arrest. He was released on R500 000 bail by the Middelburg Magistrate’s Court on February 26.

Read more on:    crime  |  courts
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