Bail for Malema's pals
'First phase of probes into corrupt activities in the awarding of tenders' - Hawks
IT REMAINS to be seen whether Julius Malema's associates will appear with him in court today.
The four associates charged with fraud and money laundering - Kagisho Dichabe, Lesiba Gwangwa, Makgetse Manthata and Helen Moreroa - appeared in the Polokwane Magistrate's Court yesterday and were granted bail of R40,000 each.
Malema is scheduled to appear in the same court to face similar charges.
Yesterday, only streets surrounding the court buildings - Landdros Marè, Schoeman, Bodenstein and Rabe - were blocked to traffic by a high police presence.
It was expected that more police personnel would be deployed today in view of the large number of people expected to come in support of Malema. More streets are also likely to be closed to traffic.
Malema's associates had turned themselves in to the police yesterday morning after learning that the Hawks were looking for them.
Gwangwa, 33, was accused of misrepresenting facts about his company, On-Point, which won a R52-million tender from the provincial department of roads and transport.
The court heard that On-Point was actually performing the same duties already being performed by the provincial department of transport. On-Point was entrusted with the responsibility of awarding departmental tenders.
The department had already paid the company R43-million.
Gwangwa was also accused of accepting, together with Dichabe, R1-million from Manthata and Moreroa, who were also awarded a tender in the department.
Represented by their respective Gauteng-based attorneys, all four maintained their innocence and said they would plead not guilty to the charges.
Their case was postponed to November 30 to allow for further investigations.
In granting them bail, Magistrate Janine Ungerer ordered the accused to hand over their passports before 4pm today and not to interfere with the investigations.
"I'm also taking into consideration the fact that you have cooperated with investigators into the cases against you," Ungerer said.
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela yesterday said the investigations were the first phase of probes into corrupt activities in the awarding of tenders in the province.
"The second phase will follow soon," Polela said.
Meanwhile, the Forum for Limpopo Entrepreneurs, which had always maintained there was corruption relating to the awarding of tenders in the roads and transport department, said they were vindicated by the recent developments.
The forum's secretary Siviko Mabunda, who had also opened criminal cases against companies with links to Malema, said they expected more arrests.