The African National Congress (ANC) deputy chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Mike Mabuyakhulu, briefly appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court today for his alleged role in a scam designed to defraud the state.
The brief appearance – where Magistrate Christobel Mazibuko ordered the State to furnish the accused with the particulars of the claims against him – is linked to an alleged scam that successfully defrauded the KwaZulu-Natal fiscus of about R28 million under the pretence it was paying for the Netherlands-registered North Sea Jazz Festival to be held in Durban in 2012.
The festival never took place.
In total, there are 16 accused, seven being companies. They face 77 charges: 27 for corruption, two for fraud, one for theft and 46 for money-laundering. There is also one count of contravening the Public Finance Management Act. The accused were arrested in February 2018.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Natasha Kara, told journalists outside the court that the matter had been adjourned to October 16.
“Today the magistrate made an order that all legal representatives of the accused are expected to submit their request for further particulars on 16 October,” she said.
“The accused will remain out on bail until that stage. The state will then need to respond to those requests for further particulars specifically from each legal representative. Once those issues have been resolved then we will look at a high court date.”
Mabuyakhulu’s legal representative, Jimmy Howse SC, a well known KZN advocate who has represented some of Durban’s most controversial business families, told the court he intended to ask for a separate trial as his client was only facing six of the 77 charges.
Howse said that due to Mabuyakhulu’s social standing as a leader and politician, he did not want the matter to drag on.
The alleged fraud took place between July 2012 and November 2012.
According to the indictment, in January 2012, MPM Productions and International Projects (Pty) Ltd pitched to Mabuyakhulu, then the MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, to bring the North Sea Jazz Festival to Durban.
Mabuyakhulu agreed to the deal and his then head of department, Dennis Golding, allegedly stipulated that the local partner was to be Soft Skills Communication 100 CC, owned by Walter Mkhize.
But on 2 October 2012, Rotterdam-based Mojo Concert BV, who owned the North Sea Jazz Festival brand, pulled the plug on MPM’s rights to host the event.
Golding then allegedly had a new sham agreement drawn up and in November 2012 ordered that R26 886 900 be paid to Soft Skills. Nearly R2 million had already been paid to the company by this stage.
The indictment reveals how Mkhize then made a series of payments in a laundering exercise that saw Mabuyakhulu receive R300 000 into his private bank account, using the reference “Ndiyema”, Mabuyakhulu’s clan name.
Other payments were to suppliers for services never rendered and the purchase of cars such as a Mercedes Benz and Range Rover.
– African News Agency (ANA)