Hawks spokesperson Philani Nkwalase confirmed that 11 people would be appearing in court in relation to the land deals that resulted in the provincial department of human settlements buying three farms in 2011 at grossly inflated rate of just under R124m while they were worth about R71m.
“It is alleged that during February 2012 a complaint was made about the Msukaligwa municipality that allegedly bought a Rietspruit farm in Ermelo worth R11m yet sold for about R36.4m in 2011, to develop a township whilst the municipality owned a farm that could have been utilised for the same purpose,” Nkwalise said.
He said a multi-agency investigation that included the Specialised Investigating Unit (SIU) and the National Prosecuting Authority was under way.
“Another whistle blower alerted the investigators to two other deals involving two farms, a 70ha Malelane farm worth R44m that was allegedly sold to the municipality at R50m in 2011 and a 74.2ha Naauwpoort [farm] in eMalahleni worth R16m apparently sold for R37.5m,” Nkwalise said.
Nkwalise said government overspent by about R54m more than the market value of the farms with money being channelled through five companies.
“An intricate paper trail was created including applications by the municipalities, valuation report and internal correspondence in order to justify the deals,” Nkwalise said.
In November 2017, Sunday Times had reported on how a portion of the R37m used to fund one of the land deals was allegedly used to build a house for Bongo.
Conveyancers in the deal allegedly paid R1.5m into the account of a company belonging to Bongo’s wife, which was allegedly used to build a home in Nelspruit.
Sunday Times also reported that the same conveyancers had paid R300,000 towards a new BMW X5 for Bongo.
The allegations were contained in a forensic audit by a SIU team which found that Bongo had allegedly received R1.5m cash on May 13 2011 deposited by a law firm into the bank account of a company solely owned by his wife, Sandile Nkosi.