Mike Mabuyakhulu, the deputy chairman of the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal, had some of his assets seized at his Empangeni home early on Thursday morning in an ongoing fraud case.
Six other accused were also having their assets seized at the same time, starting at 6am. Included in the list was Caesar Mkhize, a well-known businessman.
There are 16 accused in total – including seven companies – in the fraud case. They allegedly defrauded the KwaZulu-Natal government of about R28 million by paying for a 2012 jazz festival that never materialised.
Mabuyakhulu was KZN’s economic MEC at the time and allegedly received a R300,000 kickback into his private bank account.
All the accused 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 and have been appearing at the Durban Commercial Crimes Court.
At an appearance last year, 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.
He also told the court Mabuyakhulu played a “peripheral role” in the matter.
Howse told African News Agency (ANA) on Thursday he was aware of the seizure, but had been informed via telephone. He was not in the province, he said, and did not know the exact nature of the order.
Mabuyukhulu did not respond to numerous calls and text messages. The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) directed questions to the Hawks, and the Hawks directed questions to the NPA.
The accused were set to appear again on February 1.
– African News Agency (ANA)