Ex-Land Bank boss found guilty

Ex-Land Bank CEO Phil Mohlahlane to be sentenced. / SIMPHIWE NKWALI.
Ex-Land Bank CEO Phil Mohlahlane to be sentenced. / SIMPHIWE NKWALI.

Former Land Bank CEO Philemon Mohlahlane has been found guilty of siphoning off R6-million meant for aspirant black farmers from the bank's BEE scheme.

The funds, which were meant to acquire land, livestock and processing units for budding farmers, were instead used to purchase a BMW X5 SUV, BMW 1 series sedan, and a R2-million farm.

The case, which was initially opened in 2012, finally came to a conclusion last week when the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court found Mohlahlane, 62, and his three co-accused - Manyaba Mohlaloga, Dinga Nkwashu and Dingamanzi ka Dinga - guilty of defrauding Land Bank's Agri-BEE scheme in January 2008.

Mohlaloga, 44, a former ANC MP, was the chairman of the portfolio committee of agriculture at the time the grant payment was made, according to the Hawks.

Nkwashu and Ka Dinga were directors from law firm Masepula Dinga Attorneys, in whose trust fund the money was deposited into.

Mohlahlane, Mohlaloga and Nkwashu were found guilty on charges of fraud and money laundering, while Ka Dinga was found guilty of fraud only.

The four will be sentenced on April 3. Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said Mohlahlane had in 2008 instructed a fund manager at AgriBee "to authorise the said payment without supporting documents".

"The fund manager, who eventually turned state witness during the trial, only received an application for the grant about a month after the payment was made," said
Mulaudzi.

Mohlahlane still has other pending cases before court related to alleged embezzlements of funds from the Agri-BEE scheme amounting to millions of rands.

Some of the assets of the four were frozen and attached by the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) in a bid to recover monies lost. The AFU sold the Limpopo farm, which had been acquired for R2.2-million, for R1.2-million.

The Hawks investigators found that R866000 which was paid to Leo Hasse BMW Hatfield was for the purchase of two BMW vehicles and one was later sold for R470000. Only one BMW vehicle could be attached by the AFU.

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