Former Minister of State Security Bongani Bongo and his brother Sipho Bongo were released on R10 000 bail after appearing in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday morning 28 October 2020 on charges of corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering worth R74 million.
The brothers appeared alongside nine others namely; Robert Burwise, Patrick Donald Chirwa, Harrington Sizwakhendaba Dhlamini, Blessing Mduduzi Singwane, David Boy Dube, Vusi Willem Magagula, Bongani Louis Henry Sibiya, Elmon Lawrence Mdaka, and Sibongile Mercy Mdaka.
The accused were charged on Wednesday morning together with four companies and face 69 counts. The four companies are; The Little River Trading 156 (Pty) Ltd, Broad Market Trading 204 (Pty) Ltd, Bongiveli CC and Pfuka Afrika CC.
BONGANI BONGO AND BROTHER GRANTED BAIL
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) National spokesperson Sipho Ngwema said the two Bongo brothers were released on R10 000 bail and were warned to appear 4 March 2021.
“The court will resume shortly to hear the bail applications of the rest of the accused,” said Ngwema.
The allegations are in connection with a R37.5 million sale and purchase of a farm Naauwpoort at Emalahleni by the Mpumalanga Department of Human Settlement (DoHS) ostensibly on behalf of eMalahleni Municipality. Bongani Bongo at one stage held the title of MEC of Mpumalanga’s Human Settlements Department.
“Some of the accused, acting in common concert and with common purpose, exploited the normal phenomenon of purchase of land by government by misrepresenting facts to the State (Department of Human Settlement) regarding ownership and true sale price of the farm Naupoort,” said Ngwema.
The real owner of the farm, Petrus Johannes Van Tonder, was paid R15 million of the R37.5 million for the farm. The money was then paid into the trust account of Singwane Attorneys, in their capacity as conveyancer appointed by the department.
“Van Tonder paid R1.5m commission to Pam Golding as estate agents for the transaction. Singwane, not instructed by the department, paid R22.5m to Little River Trading which enabled the accused to successfully steal the money,” said Ngwema.
In another transaction, Bongiveli entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Fremax Farms for a portion of Rietspruit for an amount of R10.5m, however, Msukaligwa Local Municipality valuation of the portion of the Rietspruit farm was valued at R1.6m.
Little River paid R1.5m as a deposit for the farm and Bongiveli had to deliver a guarantee issued by a bank or financial institution for payment of the balance of the purchase price on or before 31 May 2011.
ACCUSED ALLEGEDLY RECEIVE COMMISSION AND KICKBACKS
Some of the accused, which include Bongani and Sipho Bongo, allegedly received commission of R4.5m. In March 2011 the DoHS, Msukaligwa Municipality and Bongiveli entered into a sale and purchase agreement for Rietspruit Farm.
When the said sale and purchase agreement was signed, Bongiveli was not the owner of the farm and there was no approval of the departmental to purchase the farm. The Msukaligwa Local Municipality valuation of the portion of the Rietspruit farm was valued at R1.6m.
“In March 2011, the DoHS paid an R52 884 384 to Singwane. Subsequently, the law firm furnished Freemax with a guarantee of R15 661 018.59. The property was then transferred to Bongiveli from Msugalikwa Municipality, and the company became the owner of the farm. The farm was sold back to DoHS for R32 Million,” said Ngwema.
“The farms fell out of the Spatial Development Plan for the municipality and therefore not categorized for human settlement. To date it has not been proclaimed as township,” added Ngwema.
It is alleged that some of the accused, which include the Bongo brothers, received kickbacks of cash and cars, among others, from some of the entities involved in the transactions.
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