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F rank M aponya
The assets forfeiture unit has pounced on former Makhuduthamaga mayor Abram Kgaola Mafiri and attached his properties.
The pre-dawn raid yesterday at Mafiri's home in Jane Furse, Limpopo, is an attempt to recover the proceeds from R30million in contracts he allegedly benefitted from while still in office.
Resembling a Hollywood action movie several police cars, AFU members and media personnel converged on Mafiri's home, attracting the attention of the whole village.
Mafiri and his four accomplices - Abdul Muneer Essa, James and Collins Malekana and Kgoputso Morewana - were charged with fraud and corruption amounting to R34 million.
Mafiri, 42, was replaced as mayor of the municipality in March 2006.
Mafiri owns the only mansion in the dusty village.
It comprises eight garages, eight bedrooms, three lounges, three sitting rooms, toilets and bathrooms.
His three cars, two BMWs and a Mercedes-Benz, were also seized with some of the expensive furniture in the house.
The AFU yesterday estimated the value of the attached property at R2 million.
Mafiri remained calm throughout the proceedings.
He said he would like to see his property returned to him undamaged.
"I'm in consultation with my lawyers and surely my properties will be returned sooner than expected," he said confidently.
Mafiri claimed the attachment of his properties was politically motivated.
He said he knew of several politicians who were jealous of his achievements.
His lawyer Rudi Krause said the seizure of the properties came as a complete surprise.
"The evidence presented at the criminal trial, which forms the basis of the application for the seizure, is lacking in credibility and substance," he said.
"And for the NPA to now apply on an ex parte basis for a restraining order falls nothing short of a flagrant abuse of the provisions of the prevention of the Organised Crime Act," Krause said.