Corruption cases linked to police, asbestos finally under way in KZN, Free State

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The Hawks hauled several high profile individuals this week.
The Hawks hauled several high profile individuals this week.
Tiro Ramatlhatse, Gallo Images, Sowetan
  • Two major corruption cases finally saw the light of day this week.
  • Thoshan Panday and Colonel Navin Madhoe appeared in court on Friday for fraud related to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
  • Also, seven political and business figures in the Free State appeared in connection with a R255 million asbestos tender.

Authorities have begun moving swiftly on alleged white collar criminals as two longstanding corruption cases - one in KwaZulu-Natal and the other in the Free State - took the spotlight on Friday.

Durban businessman Thoshan Panday appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court, alongside police Colonel Navin Madhoe, on charges of corruption and fraud, amounting to around R47 million, in relation to police accommodation for the 2010 World Cup.

In the Free State, seven accused, including businessman Edwin Sodi, former Mangaung mayor Sarah Mlamleli, former Free State human settlements HOD Nthimotse Mokhesi, John Matlakala, Sello Radebe, Abel Manyeki and Thabane Zulu, appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court.

In a hard-hitting move, the group's bank accounts and assets seized were frozen to the tune of R300 million through a provisional restraint order from the Asset Forfeiture Unit in relation to the failed R255 million Free State asbestos project.

The assets included luxury sports cars.

They face over 60 counts, including corruption, fraud and money laundering.

Not so untouchable

Charges relating to Panday, who is known as a close affiliate of former president Jacob Zuma's son, Edward, began moving forward last week when the Pietermaritzburg High Court dismissed an application he had brought.

ALSO READ | Thoshan Panday, co-accused to face 261 counts of corruption, fraud for SAPS tender scandal

The high court on Wednesday, 30 September, dismissed Panday's application to review and set aside a 2017 decision by former National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) Shaun Abrahams to prosecute him, Madhoe and Captain Ashwin Narainpershad.

Madhoe and Narainpershad were both in the employ of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

"Circus huh?" said Panday as he appeared before a barrage of journalists and Magistrate Vanitha Armu on Friday.

navin madhoe
Durban businessman Thoshan Panday and police official Navin Madhoe.

Madhoe, through his lawyer, Ravindra Manicklal, said he was eagerly awaiting his day in court, to clear his name. 

In another twist on Friday afternoon, the NPA said former KZN police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni was at large after she was due to be arrested and appear in court in connection with the police tender.

A change

Both the Free State and KZN moves have been perceived as a move toward state capture related arrests.

News24 this week reported that high-profile ANC officials were expected to be among those on the radar of prosecutors and investigators.

READ | Mkhwebane 'looks forward' to convictions after arrests in Free State asbestos case

In the Free State asbestos matter, News24 reported the contract was awarded by the Free State human settlements department and was intended to cater for a detailed audit of roughly 36 000 low-cost homes to identify which still have harmful asbestos roofs.

News24 reported that the department utilised, unlawfully, a Treasury regulation that allows one government department to procure goods or services from service providers already contracted to another department.

seven accused in the controversial asbestos contra
The seven accused in the controversial asbestos contract case seated at the dock in the Bloemfontein High Court.

Potential links in the project to former Free State premier Ace Magashule were first detailed by journalist Pieter-Louis Myburgh in Gangster State, his 2019 book.

The asbestos is still in the homes.

The contract was unlawfully awarded to a joint venture between Blackhead Consulting, owned by Sodi, and Diamond Hill Trading 71, owned by Igo Mpambani, who was gunned down in Sandton in 2017.

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