Kaizer Chiefs manager, Bobby Motaung, and five co-accuseds are now free men after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) declined to prosecute them.
This means that all fraud and corruption charges in the R1.2 billion 2010 Mbombela world cup soccer stadium have now been dropped – closing the curtain on Mpumalanga province’s biggest scandal in recent years.
Four years ago the Hawks unit also gave up on finding assassins of former Mbombela council speaker, Jimmy Mohlala, after arresting the wrong suspects in 2010.
Mohlala was shot dead on January 5 2009, a day before he was due to report tender irregularities in the stadium tenders. Motaung is a director of Lefika Emerging Equity that was contracted to design the 2010 world cup stadium.
He and his partner, Herbert Theledi, and the company’s chief executive officer, Chris Grip, were charged in 2012 for allegedly: Using a false tax clearance certificate when they bid for the tender to design Mbombela stadium; Forging a Mbombela municipal council letter to secure a R1 million overdraft and stealing R143 million. Soon after these charges, the Hawks added separate but interlinked charges of fraud, corruption and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act relating to R920 million worth of irregularities in the stadium tender.
More people were also charged: former Mbombela municipal manager, Jacob Dladla, former Ehlanzeni District Municipality technical manager, Tebogo Kubeka, and Grip’s lawyer and Lefika’s compliance officer, Michael Ramos. Hawks spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, said the charges were dropped by the NPA.
“We were given a prosecutor to deal with this case. We handed over our investigation but the NPA decided not to prosecute,” Mulaudzi said.
Mulaudzi said the elite police unit’s boss, Major General Mthandazo Ntlemeza, took the docket from the Mpumalanga office and appointed a team in his office to investigate it following dissatisfaction with the way it was handled.
The NPA said that the police failed to carry out instructions from a lead prosecutor and the case had to be dropped because of insufficient evidence.
Motaung’s lawyer, Zola Majavu, said the NPA’s decision was welcome.
“We now regard this matter as closed and my client is focusing on other aspects of his business life after this reputational damage,” Majavu said.
When the case first encountered hiccups before the Nelspruit regional court three years ago, it was not due to incomplete police investigation but pure bungling by the NPA.
Prosecutor Advocate Patrick Nkuna wanted to transfer the case to the Northern Gauteng High Court for trial. On the day the regional court sat to transfer the case, the NPA submitted two contradictory letters to the magistrate, which were written by two different officials.
One letter supported Nkuna’s request for a high court transfer but the other said it should continue in the lower court. Magistrate Roelf Smith struck the case off the roll, saying that he could see no progress in the matter. The SACP in Mpumalanga is not satisfied.
SACP provincial secretary, Bonakele Majuba, said: “This is a serious indictment on the NPA. The justice system in this country is found wanting because when you’re rich you can do whatever you want.”
The SACP has marched to national police headquarters to demand a report of a task team that former police commissioner, Bheki Cele, appointed in 2011 to investigate political killings in Mpumalanga. Majuba said that Cele’s successor, Riyah Phiyega, however said there was no report.
COURTESY: This article was first published by Afrikan Voice.