Limpopo tenderpreneurs who benefited from dodgy government deals splashed out millions to secretly buy the former ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema, a R3.9-million farm near Polokwane.
These and other sensational revelations are contained in a damning PricewaterhouseCoopers audit into Malema's financial affairs, prepared for the National Treasury and seen by the Sunday Times.
The audit puts Malema at the centre of a web of dubious payments and dodgy tenders that were rigged to go to his friends' companies, in return for what appear to be generous kickbacks paid into his family trust account, which he used as his personal piggy bank.
Bank statements show that Malema's Ratanang Family Trust received R7.6-million over 36 months. Despite Malema's claims these were "donations" for charitable causes, he withdrew R5.7-million of that with 168 cheques, mostly made out to cash for "round amounts" of up to R200000.
"This is a very unusual practice, especially when one takes into account the fact that this is the bank account of a trust and not Mr Malema's personal account," the audit concludes.
An analysis of the bank statements also confirms that Tokyo Sexwale's Mvelaphanda Holdings paid R100000 to Ratanang , on December 22 2010.
It is clear from the audit that Malema and his business associate Lesiba Gwangwa milked Limpopo's R4.6-billion roads budget through tenders awarded to their cronies through their company, On-Point Engineers.
His rags-to-riches story began when the Limpopo government, headed by Malema's friend, premier Cassel Mathale, awarded On-Point a R52-million deal to manage its R4.6-billion roads budget in September 2009.
New revelations contained in hundreds of documents including cheques, bank statements and tender documents seen by the Sunday Times include:
On-Point, in which Malema indirectly owns shares, won the R52-million "project management" tender ahead of 15 other bidders even though it lied about its expertise and experience, submitted a tax certificate under the wrong name, and was almost three times more expensive than a rival bidder. This put the company in a position to dole out tenders to Malema's friends in return for kickbacks;
Companies that scored lucrative Limpopo tenders, including On-Point and Mpotseng Infrastructure, paid R2-million towards buying Malema the farm Schuilkraal near Polokwane. Another R1-million was paid towards the farm by Oceansite Trading 777, which won a road maintenance tender worth R6.2-million with On-Point's help;
On-Point paid R1.2-million to Ratanang's bank account in 12 payments as "dividends" Malema claims were due to him as 50% shareholder of Guilder 59, which owns a third of On-Point; and
Another R6.4-million was paid into the trust in cash deposits or electronic transfers ranging from R10000 to R250000, including R100000 from Sexwale's Mvelaphanda Holdings.
In an interview with the Sunday Times this week, Malema denied that he used Ratanang Trust as a personal bank, and laundered money that came from On-Point
"Yes, a lot of money came into Ratanang, it was never a secret ... I can give every specific explanation to law enforcement, not to you. I refuse to account to the minorities," he said.
Last week at a press conference, Malema said unequivocally: "I have not received any money from comrade Tokyo. I wish I had received some money." Confronted with the bank statement analysis, Malema backtracked: "I've never said that Mvela paid me, or did not pay me. The point I made is that I was never bought by Tokyo to support him for president. I always said Ratanang received donations from different good Samaritans." He refused to confirm the identity of those donors.
Malema said he did not need to reveal who gave money to Ratanang because it "did not receive money from any public institution. Ratanang received money from individuals who gave it out of their own goodwill, nobody put a gun to their head."
This is contradicted by the audit, which traces payments for roads tenders that landed up in Malema's pocket.
The audit focuses on three shady tenders, worth about R60-million, that Limpopo's roads department awarded to On-Point Engineers, Mpotseng Infrastructure and Oceansite, and the kickbacks that these companies made to the trust.
All three companies are linked to Malema. Mpotseng is headed by Arthur Mpotseng Pethla, who was Gwangwa's co-director in On-Point, while Oceansite is headed by Helen Moreroa, who is married to Selby Manthata. Manthata, who also reportedly scored a R19-million roads tender from On-Point, is a business partner of Malema's friend, premier Mathale.
With On-Point running Limpopo's roads department's projects, it could influence who got tenders and even authorise payment of invoices. The audit shows that On-Point authorised payments to Mpotseng, while an On-Point shareholder, Tshiamo Ditchabe, sat on the bid evaluation committee that awarded Oceansite its tender.
The purchase of Malema's farm was the most blatant example of a kickback for these services.
On March 22 2011, Malema signed a deed of sale for Ratanang to buy the farm for R3.9-million from Andries and Jennifer Kotze. Four payments of about R1-million each were due to be paid over four months from April to July to the "transferring attorneys Kampherbeek, Twine & Pogrund".
The audit shows that in May 2011, on the day Mpotseng received its last payment from the roads department for a R2.5-million tender, it paid R1-million to On-Point. A week later, this R1-million was paid to Kampherbeek, Twine & Pogrund with the payment description "Ratanang Farm".
In June 2011, On-Point paid another R1-million directly for the farm. Oceansite also paid R1-million to the lawyers for the farm, and a company called Qualis Health and Safety Consultants paid the outstanding balance of R986418 on July 8 2011.
"It is clear, based on the flow of funds, that after receiving payments from the department, [Mpotseng and Oceansite] made payments for the ultimate benefit of the Ratanang Trust, and that in the case of Mpotseng the payment was routed via On-Point Engineers," the audit states.
The documents show that Malema, who was under intense media scrutiny at the time, then tried to shift the farm into the name of Gwama Properties, run by his close friend Gwangwa.
On July 26, Malema signed a "cancellation agreement" with the Kotzes for the farm. Two days later, Gwama Properties signed a deed of sale to buy Schuilkraal from the Kotzes for R3.9-million.
A week later, on August 2, Malema sent an instruction to Kampherbeek to "transfer the funds in their trust account, being held on behalf of [Ratanang] to the account of Gwama Properties".
In the interview, Malema was adamant that neither he nor Ratanang had bought Schuilkraal, but he refused to explain why he signed the purchase agreement, then cancelled it, or why money given to his trust was used to pay for the farm.
"I've never bought a farm, and that's where I'm prepared to go on this matter ... I'm not going to answer the way you want me to answer," he said.
Gwangwa initially offered to respond in writing through his lawyer, Mpoyana Ledwaba, but after receiving detailed questions told the Sunday Times: "I refuse to speak to journalists."
After asking the Sunday Times to e-mail him questions, Phetla's lawyer, Mojalefa Motalane, said: "We really don't have any answers. The payments that you are asking us about are part of an ongoing investigation and my client is cooperating with the relevant law enforcement agencies."
Moreroa denied any knowledge of chipping in R1-million towards Malema's farm, then failed to return calls after being e-mailed a cheque proving the payment.
Asked why the Limpopo roads department had clearly tailor-made the tender to suit On-Point, spokesman Joshua Kwapa said the allegations were being investigated by the Treasury, the Hawks and the public protector. "It would be jumping the gun to comment in detail at this stage." If the tender was found to be unlawful, the department would take action which could include recovering the funds paid to On-Point.