NPA challenges businessman Kuben Moodley over R232m in precious stones, jewels, cash

Kuben Moodley and then president Jacob Zuma (file image). The National Prosecuting Authority has filed a contempt of court application against the businessman over safety deposit boxes with contents worth more than R200m.
Kuben Moodley and then president Jacob Zuma (file image). The National Prosecuting Authority has filed a contempt of court application against the businessman over safety deposit boxes with contents worth more than R200m.
Image: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images

The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA's) investigative directorate is seeking a contempt of court order against a Bloemfontein businessman who took safety deposit boxes containing cash, precious stones and jewellery valued at R232m.

The safety deposit boxes, according to an affidavit deposed to by director of public prosecutions Hermione Cronje in the contempt of court application in the South Gauteng High Court, were held under the control of the state capture commission in terms of an order made on August 14 2019.

On August 20 2019, Kubetheren Moodley launched a review application, asking the order to be set aside.

On June 8  2020, members of the commission informed the NPA's investigating directorate that they intended to settle the review application on the day on which the matter was set down for hearing, and that subsequently the contents of the safety deposit boxes would be returned to Moodley.

On June 19 2020, the NPA obtained an order restraining Moodley and his company, Albatime Pty Ltd, from dealing with the contents of the safety deposit boxes. 

According to Cronje, prior to the order being granted, Moodley’s legal representative informed the NPA that one of their team members  was on her way to Johannesburg to take the deposit boxes.

The NPA was then informed the boxes were in the process of being handed over to Moodley.

“I immediately telephoned [Moodley’s representative] and informed her that in light of the fact that possession of the contents of the safety deposit boxes was handed to her, unless she undertook not to release them to Mr Moodley, pending the hearing of the restraint application, we would have to expedite the hearing of the application. [The representative] declined to provide the requested undertaking,” Cronje said in her affidavit.

According to Cronje, a curator was appointed to handle the deposit boxes.

It later emerged that Moodley had received the boxes.

He apparently told the curator the contents of the deposit boxes were used to pay debt.

According to Cronje, Moodley was required to provide more details relating to the contents of the safety deposit boxes. His legal team, however, wrote a letter to the curator saying their client would not provide anything further than what he had written in his affidavit.

“I submit that Mr Moodley’s response shows he had no intention to comply with the curator’s instructions timeously or at all.

“Instead, the only reasonable conclusion is that Mr Moodley has sought to place the contents of the safety deposit boxes beyond the reach of the curator, in contravention of the restraint order, and is playing for time to ensure the curator is unable to recover the dissipated assets or their value,” Cronje said.


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