The R1.2 billion Mbombela Stadium case, which has been in limbo over the past three years, will no longer return to court.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed for the first time today that the fraud and corruption charges against Kaizer Chiefs Football Club manager, Bobby Motaung, and five others will no longer be pursued and the matter was closed in November 2016.
Motaung was arrested on August 15 2012 alongside his business partner in Lefika Emerging Equity, Herbert Theledi, and the company’s former chief executive officer Chris Grip.
They were charged with fraud amounting to R143 million for allegedly using a false tax certificate when Lefika submitted a bid for a tender to design the stadium. They also allegedly forged a Mbombela council letter with a fake signature of former Mbombela municipal manager, Sgananda Siboza, to obtain a R1 million overdraft from a bank.
The Hawks also arrested former Mbombela manager Jacob Dladla, Ehlanzeni District technical director Tebogo Kubeka and Grip’s lawyer, Michael Ramos, on charges of theft, fraud and the alleged contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act (MFMA) relating to the staidum tenders valued at R920 million.
NPA’s spokesperson in Mpumalanga, Monica Nyuswa, said the matter was closed after police could not obtain evidence requested by lead prosecutor, Advocate Willem van Zyl.
“The decision was a nolle prosequi (a formal notice of abandonment action). The NPA cannot revive a case with insufficient evidence,” Nyuswa said.
It is not clear what evidence was outstanding from the case, because the prosecutor Advocate Patrick Nkuna had been insisting that the investigation was complete when the trial had begun in the Nelspruit regional court.
The case collapsed on June 24 2013 when Nkuna had applied for the case to be transferred to the North Gauteng High Court. When the regional court had to formally transfer the case, NPA management sent two contradicting letters to the court - much to Nkuna’s surprise. One letter said the case should continue in the regional court while another said it could be transferred.
Magistrate Roelf Smith struck the matter off the roll because of the two letters. Smith said he could not see progress in the matter. At that time, Nkuna complained to the court: “A deputy director signed the indictment for the case to go to high court and now this shows his letter was undermined. I hope this will not put my job on the line …There is war within the NPA”.
After this bungle, former acting Hawks head, Major-General Mthandazo Ntlemeza, took the docket from the investigator, Warrant Officer Mashudu Mashamba. Mashamba was then forced to take a transfer to work in Giyani.
Jimmy Mohlala assassination
Another aspect of the Mbombela case is the assassination of former City of Mbombela speaker, Jimmy Mohlala. Mohlala was fatally shot January 5 2009 when he was blowing the whistle corruption in the stadium tenders.
The police have not been able to make a breakthrough on Mohlala’s murder. However, Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Leonard Hlathi, said the murder was still under investigation.