The spokesperson of the KwaZulu-Natal African National Congress (ANC) Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said the party’s provincial deputy chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu should be allowed to deal with the matter of the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) raiding his home.
This comes after the AFU in the province on Thursday raided Mabuyakhulu’s home along with the businesses and homes of seven others reportedly linked to a multimillion-rand graft case.
IOL reports that Simelane-Zulu said that, since the matter was personal in nature, Mabuyakhulu should be allowed to deal with it and the law must take its course.
Simelane-Zulu said the party could not at this point comment on the matter as it had not been made aware of the details, only learning of it through media reports.
Simelane-Zulu was quoted as saying: “We must indicate that if it is a decision of the court to decided to do that, then we oblige. Let the law take its course, however, we do want to indicate that the implementation of the law must not be done in a manner that humiliates whomever it is that is being investigated.”
Last year, the Durban Commercial Crimes Court postponed the case to February 1, 2019. The eight accused are out on bail.
The 16 accused – including seven companies – allegedly defrauded the KwaZulu-Natal government of about R28 million by paying for a jazz festival that never materialised. Mabuyakhulu was MEC for economic development and tourism at the time.
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.
Daily News reports that following the simultaneous raids at the homes and businesses of those implicated in the scandal, properties and cars worth R12 million were attached.
It was reported that at Mabuyakhulu’s home in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, the AFU, which was accompanied by the Hawks, attached two luxury German sedans.
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 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 October 2 , 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 an alleged 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.
It was reported that Mkhize’s home was also raided by the AFU and that, along with luxury vehicles, the house was attached.