Forfeiture unit attaches R3m in property linked to gold syndicate
Trial of nine accused set for July 24 in Pretoria high court
The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has secured a preservation order over more than R3m worth of property belonging to seven people linked to an alleged gold syndicate in Khutsong and Carletonville in Gauteng.
The order, obtained in the Pretoria high court on January 8, is to preserve various properties belonging to:
- Bethuel Ngobeni;
- Lerato Bathebeng;
- Poppy Mathongwane;
- Dumisani Moyo;
- Nhlanhla Leon Magwaca;
- Neo Susan Duba; and
- Thabo Sechele.
On Thursday the AFU served the seven with the order and took an inventory of valuable items, including houses and vehicles. The NPA said these were proceeds of unlawful activities of a syndicate dealing in unwrought gold.
NPA spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said the AFU had earlier obtained three preservation orders relating to this case: on July 31, August 7 and August 30.
“All four orders amount to more than R20m [comprising] 55 vehicles, 10 properties in Khutsong and Carletonville, as well as R91,000 cash and other valuable assets,” she said.
The preservation orders emanate from a criminal investigation by the Hawks which led to the arrests of six accused suspected of being illegal mining kingpins and three of their wives, Mahanjana said.
“This syndicate is mainly comprised of foreign nationals from Zimbabwe and Mozambique who fraudulently acquired South African identity documents.”
The AFU will apply for the forfeiture orders and, once granted, the properties will be sold on public auction with the proceeds paid into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account (Cara). Cara is an account in the National Revenue Fund into which money and property are deposited after a judicial forfeiture or confiscation order.
The trial of the nine accused, who are facing various charges including money laundering and racketeering, is set to start on July 24 at the Pretoria high court.