Hawks pounce on Motaung
"This is the conclusion of the first phase of investigations into tenders in Mpumalanga. There may be more arrests"
THE Hawks yesterday arrested Kaizer Chiefs football club manager Bobby Motaung for alleged fraud in connection with the construction of Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.
Hawks spokesman McIntosh Polela said yesterday: "We have arrested two men on allegations of fraud, forgery and theft in relation to the Mbombela Stadium construction. I can confirm one man was arrested in Naturena and another in Cape Town. We are looking for a third person." Radio reports this morning said a man in Nelspruit had handed himself over to police.
A reliable source has confirmed that one of the men arrested was indeed Motaung. But Chiefs yesterday pleaded ignorance about the arrest of their flamboyant manager in a terse statement on their website. "The Club has not received any formal confirmation of Bobby Motaung's arrest and therefore cannot comment on the matter at this time," wrote the club.
Polela said the arrests were the result of intensive investigation.
"This is the conclusion of the first phase of investigations into tenders in Mpumalanga. There may be more arrests," he said.
While he would not be drawn into revealing the identity of those arrested, he said one of the suspects was a high-profile South African.
The arrests come eight months after Mbombela abandoned its investigation into allegations of corruption against Motaung and his business associates.
Municipal spokesman Joseph Ngala said last November that the council had resolved to abandon the investigation because the municipality did not have funds to cover the "exorbitant legal costs".
Polela said: "The forgery charge entails their company submitting a forged South African Revenue Service document when applying for the Mbombela tender."
Motaung was the executive director of construction company Lefika Emerging Equity, which was awarded the tender to build the 2010 Soccer World Cup stadium.
Forensic investigations later showed that Lefika had received an alleged irregular payment of R43-million. Former Mbombela World Cup coordinator Differ Mogale allegedly approved the payment without authorisation.
He also allegedly failed to declare his company's relationship with Basil Read and its shareholder, Bouyges Travaux Public.
Former Mbombela municipal manager Jacob Dladla was let off the hook after challenging his 2009 dismissal because of his involvement in awarding the tender.
The late Mbombela municipal speaker, Jimmy Mohlala, who blew the whistle on the alleged fraud and corruption and was due to testify against Dladla, was killed at his home in January 2009.
Polela said the men would appear in the Nelspruit Magistrate's Court today.
- Known in soccer circles as "BobSteak", Motaung is loved by some Amakhosi faithfuls but despised by others who see him as contemptuous. His administration skills have often been questioned by club loyalists because of Chiefs' doleful run.
Calls for his resignation were renewed last year after he claimed at a media briefing in October that he will not step down as general manager as Chiefs was a family business.