Malema business partner due in court
Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s business partner Lesiba Gwangwa will appear in the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court today
Gwangwa, who is chief executive of On-Point Engineers, will appear on accusations of tender fraud with other Limpopo businessmen and government officials.
According to a City Press report, Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has said Malema made millions from a R52 million fraudulent tender by On-Point Engineers.
The newspaper reported that Malema’s Ratanang Family Trust was one of two shareholders in On-Point.
Although Madonsela could not find any evidence that Malema interfered in the tender process, she found that he benefited “improperly” from the contract, City Press reported.
Her investigation found that On-Point acted corruptly.
Madonsela recommended that the tender be immediately cancelled, and that the National Prosecuting Authority and the Asset Forfeiture Unit consider criminal action and that the Master of the High Court investigate the flow of money into Malema’s trust.
Malema is scheduled to appear in the same court on Wednesday for alleged fraud and money-laundering related to the On-Point tender.
On Tuesday, the police cordoned off streets surrounding the courthouse.
The accused were to hand themselves over to the police before their court appearance.
NIGHT VIGIL FOR MALEMA
Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the police were implementing their security plan the day before Malema’s appearance.
He said they wanted to be prepared for a planned night vigil for Malema, and ensure people were safe.
ANCYL CONDEMNS MALEMA CHARGES
The ANC Youth League has condemned what it terms the use of state resources to settle political scores, in reference to charges brought against its former president.
“We were shocked by these developments as the warrant was timely executed to coincide with a long weekend,” the ANCYL said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This, in our view, was meant to ensure that he spends the whole weekend in jail.”
It also condemned leaks to the media regarding the arrest and a report prepared by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela. “Such lack of restraint and conniving was meant to feed further into the court of public opinion that is in session in the media,” it said.
South Africa’s legal system upheld the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. However, what had recently happened was not in line with this principle.
“The fact that even some ministers intimated knowledge of the charges points to political interference in the administration of justice and it must be condemned,” the ANCYL said.
State institutions should not be used to settle political scores.
The ANCYL trusted that the criminal justice system would carry out its work with integrity and credibility.
It had to be freed from political interference.
“All South Africans are called upon to defend the Constitution and the principle as contained in the Constitution that every individual is innocent until proven guilty.”
MALEMA LAWYER SAYS 'WE DO NOT HAVE CHARGES'
Malema’s lawyer said on Sunday a date and venue for his court appearance had not been confirmed. “We have not received confirmation from authorities on a date or venue,” said Malema’s lawyer Nicqui Galaktiou.
City Press reported that Malema was to appear in the Polokwane Regional Court on Wednesday on fraud and money laundering charges. The Sunday Times said he would appear with five other people and four companies. However, Galaktiou said that “even though the media has been publishing all this information”, his camp did not even know what charges Malema might face.
“We do not have charges,” she said.
An arrest warrant was issued for Malema on Friday.
City Press reported that Malema faced charges of money laundering, corruption and fraud relating to his Ratanang Family Trust and its shareholding in On-Point Engineering, a company which allegedly made millions from Limpopo government tenders.
On Sunday, National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman Bulelwa Makeke refused to comment on a possible court appearance.
“Until he appears in court, then we can talk about it,” she said.