Sam Mshengu despondent about more time in detention
Sam “Mshengu” Chabalala, the flamboyant Mpumalanga businessman who has been arrested again, seemed despondent when told he would have to spend another seven days behind bars following his court appearance on Friday.
Chabalala, appeared in the Middelburg magistrate’s court on Friday on a charge of corruption after he allegedly offered a senior police official in Mpumalanga to get his impounded motor vehicle released and also to make his initial case disappear.
Wearing a black hoody and blue jeans, Chabalala dropped his head in disappointment when he was told that he would have to wait another seven days before his bail application would be heard.
His lawyer, Hlau Maluleka, requested for Chabalala to be kept in custody at the Middelburg police station in order for him to be able to carry out consultations.
According to the charge sheet, Chabalala offered the senior police official R50,000 as a down payment and on Thursday added a further R70,000 for the release of his luxury vehicle and to make his docket disappear in a separate matter.
Hawks spokesperson, Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi said processes to forfeit the R120,000 and the luxury vehicle the suspect was utilising during the commission of the crime are already underway.
The matter was postponed until February 21 for bail application.
In a separate matter, which led to his initial arrest in September 2019, Chabalala was granted bail in the Witbank magistrate’s where he is facing charges of corruption, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, illegal entry, departing and remaining in the borders of South Africa, and providing false information to be granted entry into the country.
At the time, magistrate Mdumiseni Mavuso said the state’s allegations that Chabalala was a dangerous individual could not be proven.
“The state did not give details on why it claimed that the applicant is dangerous,” Mavuso said.
“Based on the evidence his [Chabalala] lawyers presented, it seems as if he has strong family and business ties in South Africa. There is no evidence he has family outside the borders of the Republic and it is unknown if he has business and family ties outside of South Africa.”
He was arrested by the Hawks’ serious commercial crime investigation team at an eatery in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, after he allegedly paid home affairs officials a bribe to stop a probe into how he obtained his SA citizenship.
For this matter, he is expected back in court on March 5.
Mshengu, as he is popularly known, shot to national prominence in July 2019 when he took a 72-car convoy to the annual Durban July horse racing event. Pictures of his convoy of expensive cars went viral on social media. Most of them had personalised number plates with the name “Sam” on them.
Meanwhile, the national head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, Lieutenant-General Godfrey Lebeya, has commended the swift action by the investigating team.
“I would like to commend the members of the DPCI who resisted the temptation by those who want to corrupt them. We shall be working towards forfeiting the money paid as gratification”, said Lebeya.