ANC MP Bongani Bongo, 10 others accused of 'dubious land deals' totalling almost R124m

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Bongani Bongo.
Bongani Bongo.
Lindile Mbontsi, Gallo Images, Daily Sun, file
  • ANC MP Bongani Bongo and 10 others are expected in court for alleged fraud and corruption. 
  • This is in connection with a corruption case dating back to when he was an official in the Mpumalanga government. 
  • Bongo is also facing another corruption charge in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court. 

The Hawks issued a warrant of arrest for ANC MP Bongani Bongo on Tuesday, hours after he chaired a virtual meeting of Parliament's portfolio committee on home affairs.

Bongo confirmed to News24 he was en route to Nelspruit with the Hawks, where he is expected to appear in court. 

News24 understands the matter is related to allegations of corruption against Bongo when he was an official in the Mpumalanga human settlements department.

Hawks spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Philani Nkwalase did not mention names, but confirmed that a "senior government official" was among 11 people fingered for alleged fraud and corruption "in connection with dubious land deals amounting to almost R124 million".

He said they were expected to appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

"It is alleged that during February 2012 a complaint was made about the Msukaligwa Municipality that allegedly bought a Rietspruit farm in Ermelo worth R11 million, yet sold for about R36.4 million in 2011, to develop a township whilst the municipality owned a farm that could have been utilised for the same purpose," said Nkwalase.

"Another whistle blower alerted the investigators to two other deals involving two farms, a 70-hectare Malelane farm worth R44 million that was allegedly sold to the municipality at R50 million in 2011 and a 74.2 hectare Naauwpoort in Emalahleni worth R16 million apparently sold for R37.5 million."

He said the combined value of those three farms was actually around R70 million, but through "alleged collusion by the suspects", the Mpumalanga human settlements department suffered a loss of just under R124 million.

The money was channeled through five companies, according to Nkwalase.

"An intricate paper trail was created including applications by the municipalities, valuation report and internal correspondence in order to justify the deals

READ | Hawks know nothing about Magashule's 'warrant of arrest'

Earlier on Tuesday, Bongo chaired a meeting of the portfolio committee, where it received an update by the ministers of home affairs and communications and digital technologies on the steps taken to deal with people involved with the Automated Biometric Identification System. 

Separate charges

Bongo is also facing separate charges of corruption and bribery, where he is expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on 27 November. 

Bongo is accused of trying to disrupt a parliamentary inquiry into state capture at Eskom on 10 October 2017.

In 2017, former president Jacob Zuma announced an inquiry into the power utility following several allegations of corruption.

According to an affidavit by advocate Ntuthuzelo Vanara, who was the inquiry's evidence leader at the time, Bongo allegedly asked him to fake an illness and take sick leave because the inquiry could not proceed in his absence.

Bongo also allegedly offered Vanara, who was the former acting registrar of members' interests in Parliament, a cash bribe.

All Vanara had to do was "name the price" and explain to Bongo how he would help to stop the inquiry.

Bongo would, in turn, go back to the "Eskom people" and explain Vanara's plan to stop the inquiry, and the price they would have to pay for his (Vanara's) assistance.

Money would then be given to Bongo, who would hand it over to Vanara, it is alleged.

- Compiled by Qaanitah Hunter 

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