Money trail leads to arrest of Bongani Bongo’s ex-wife

Mandla Khoza Freelance journalist
The ex-wife of former state security minister Bongani Bongo has been added as an accused in his money laundering and corruption case in the Mbombela magistrate's court.
The ex-wife of former state security minister Bongani Bongo has been added as an accused in his money laundering and corruption case in the Mbombela magistrate's court.
Image: Antonio Muchave

Former state security minister Bongani Bongo’s ex-wife has been released on R10,000 bail on charges of money laundering and corruption. 

Sandile Nkosi handed herself to the police on Monday morning after a warrant of arrest was issued against her. 

Her arrest comes after her ex-husband and ten others were arrested on October 28 last year on charges of theft, fraud, corruption, money laundering and contravention of the finance management act. 

The charges are aligned to land deals where it is alleged that the accused would buy land at a lower price or get it for free and sell it at exorbitant prices to the government. 

According to the national prosecutions authority (NPA) Nkosi is accused of receiving a R1m payment from Singwane Attorneys. 

“Bongani Bongo’s former wife, Sandile Nkosi appeared briefly in the Nelspruit magistrate's court on charges of corruption and money laundering.

“It is alleged that Nkosi received R1m from Singwane Attorneys after the Mpumalanga department of human settlement paid R52m to Singwane Attorneys without any basis for such payment. She never had any business dealings with Singwane Attorneys nor was she a client who gave Singwane Attorneys instructions to institute a civil action for claim of any money, said NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema.

"Importantly, Singwane Attorneys were appointed by the department of human settlements on recommendations by Bongo. Furthermore, payments by the department to Singwane Attorneys were recommended by Bongo,” said Ngwema. 

Nkosi will appear again on May 4 with other co-accused. These are Robert Burwise, Patrick Donald Chirwa, Harrington Sizwakhendaba Dhlamini, Blessing Mduduzi Singwane, David Boy Dube, Sipho Joel Bongo, Vusi Willem Magagula, Bongani Louis Henry Sibiya, Elmon Lawrence Mdaka and Sibongile Mercy Mdaka. Also facing charges are  four companies – The Little River Trading 156 (PTY) LTD, Broad Market Trading 204 (PTY) LTD, Bongiveli CC and Pfuka Afrika CC.

The companies and the individuals they face 69 counts collectively. 

Ngwema said the allegations are in connection with the R37.5m sale and purchase of a farm in Naauwpoort situated at Emalahleni by the Mpumalanga department of human settlements ostensibly on behalf of eMalahleni municipality.

“Some of the accused, acting in common concert and with common purpose, exploited the normal phenomenon of purchase of land by government by misrepresenting facts to the department regarding ownership and true sale price of the farm.

The real owner of Naauwpoort farm, Petrus Johannes Van Tonder, was paid only R15m for the farm from the R37.5m. The money was paid into the trust account of Singwane Attorneys, in their capacity as conveyancer appointed by the department,” said Ngwema. 

He said Van Tonder paid R1,5m commission to Pam Golding as estate agents for the transaction. 

“Singwane Attorney not instructed by the department of human settlements, paid R22.5m to Little River Trading which enabled the accused to successfully steal the money.

"In another transaction, Bongiveli bought Malelane Farm 389 from Misty Sea Trade 203 (Pty) Ltd and sold it to Nkomazi Municipality for R50m. Both transactions, transfer from Misty Sea to Bongiveli and from Bongiveli to Nkomazi went through on the same day in November 2011,” said Ngwema. 

Bongiveli did not have financial means to pay R41m that ostensibly was required by the seller. 

“However, Bongiveli entered into a sale and purchase agreement with Fremax Farms for a portion of Rietspruit for an amount of R10.5m. However, Msukaligwa local municipality’s valuation of the portion of the Rietspruit farm was valued at R1.6m. 

Little River paid R1.5m as deposit for the farm and Bongiveli had to deliver a guarantee issued by a bank or financial institution for payment of the balance of the purchase price on or before 31 May 2011,” said Ngwema. 

Ngwema said in turn, some of the accused, as members of Pfuka Afrika CC, received commission of R4.5m. In March 2011 the department of human settlements, Msukaligwa Municipality and Bongiveli entered into a sale and purchase agreement for Rietspruit Farm.  

When the said sale and purchase agreement was signed, Bongiveli was not the owner of the farm and there was no approval from the department to purchase the farm. The Msukaligwa local municipality valuation of the portion of the Rietspruit farm was valued at R1.6m.

In March 2011, the department paid an R52,884,384.00 to Singwane Attorneys. Subsequently, the law firm furnished Freemax with a guarantee of R15,661,018.59. The property was then transferred to Bongiveli from Msugalikwa municipality, and the company became the owner of the farm.

“The farm was sold back to department of human settlements for R32m. The farms fell out of the Spatial Development Plan for the municipality and therefore not categorised for human settlement. To date it has not been proclaimed as a township.      

"It is alleged that some of the accused received kickbacks of cash and cars, among others, from some of the entities involved in the transactions,” said Ngwema. 


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