Sam 'Mshengu' Chabalala to stay in jail over 'G-Wagon bribe'

15 February 2020 - 09:43 By Naledi Shange
A police officer was allegedly offered a bribe to release an impounded luxury vehicle. Stock photo.
A police officer was allegedly offered a bribe to release an impounded luxury vehicle. Stock photo.
Image: Pixabay/Toby Parsons

Businessman Sam “Mshengu” Chabalala who was arrested for allegedly trying to bribe a police officer into releasing an impounded vehicle and making a 2019 case disappear will stay behind bars for another week.

The 25-year-old appeared in the Middelburg magistrate’s court on Friday facing two charges of corruption.

“His case was postponed to February 21 for a formal bail application,” said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Monica Nyuswa.

The Hawks arrested Chabalala on Thursday during a sting operation.

“The businessman who was initially arrested last year and subsequently charged for fraud, corruption and possession of an unlicensed firearm had been out on R200,000 bail following his arrest [last year in September] in Nelspruit,” said Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi.

“His latest arrest emanates from allegations that he attempted to corrupt a senior police official in Mpumalanga to get his impounded motor vehicle to be released and also to make his initial case disappear,” he added.

Chabalala was alleged to have paid a R120,000 bribe to the officer.

“The suspect [allegedly] paid R50,000 as a down payment and on Thursday he added a further R70,000 for the release of his vehicle and the Nelspruit docket to disappear,” said Mulaudzi.

The vehicle in question is a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon.

If found guilty, Chabalala stands to not only lose the R120,000 “bribe” but also his luxury vehicle.

Hawks head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya commended the swift action of the investigating team.

“I would like to commend the members ... who resisted the temptation by those who want to corrupt them. We shall be working towards forfeiting the money paid as gratification”, Lebeya said.

Chabalala owns Sam Holdings.

He was in the limelight in 2019 when he flaunted his wealth by taking a 72-car convoy to the Durban July.

The Sowetan reported in September 2019 that the flamboyant businessman, who goes by the Chabalala clan name Mshengu, was arrested by the Hawks in September following a lengthy investigation into his citizenship.

He was alleged to have tried to bribe Hawks officers with R40,000 when he was nabbed.

At the time, it was alleged that he had also tried to bribe home affairs officials who were probing how he acquired a SA identity document.