ANC MP Bongani Bongo released on R10,000 bail for 'fraudulent' land sale
Former state security minister Bongani Bongo and 10 others appeared briefly in the Nelspruit magistrate's court on Wednesday on charges of corruption, fraud, theft, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act.
The charges are in connection with the R37.5m sale and purchase of a farm in Naauwpoort, Emalahleni, by the Mpumalanga department of human settlements, ostensibly on behalf of eMalahleni Municipality.
Some of the accused, acting in concert and with common purpose, allegedly exploited the normal phenomenon of purchase of land by government by misrepresenting facts to the department regarding ownership and the true sale price of the farm.
Bongo appeared with 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.
All were charged earlier on Wednesday morning together with four companies. They face 69 counts. The four companies are:
- The Little River Trading 156 (Pty) Ltd;
- Broad Market Trading 204 (Pty) Ltd;
- Bongiveli CC; and
- Pfuka Afrika CC.
The National Prosecuting Authority said the real owner of the 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.
Van Tonder paid R1.5m commission to Pam Golding as estate agents for the transaction.
Singwane, not instructed by the department, allegedly paid R22.5m to Little River Trading, which, the state alleges, enabled the accused to steal the money.
The two Bongo brothers were released on R10,000 bail and they were warned to appear again in March next year.
The court was still hearing the bail applications of the rest of the accused on Wednesday afternoon.