AFU attaches four houses of former DRC defence attaché accused of theft

Sheriff also attached two bank accounts, with balances of R35m and R224,000

02 April 2024 - 17:31
By Ernest Mabuza
This house on the Centurion Golf Estate is one of four properties attached by the Asset Forfeiture Unit on Tuesday.
Image: NPA Communications This house on the Centurion Golf Estate is one of four properties attached by the Asset Forfeiture Unit on Tuesday.

The National Prosecuting Authority's Asset Forfeiture Unit obtained a preservation order of R43m to attach property belonging to Brig Ngoy Timothee Makwamba, who was the Democratic Republic of Congo’s defence attaché to South Africa.

The DRC opened a case of fraud and theft against Makwamba last year after a refund from Denel was allegedly illegally transferred to two bank accounts, and the money used to buy four houses.

After obtaining the preservation order on March 11 from the Pretoria high court, the sheriff, accompanied by the curator, went to the four properties to serve the preservation order, two in Pretoria, one in Centurion and another in Northcliff, Johannesburg.

The sheriff also attached two Nedbank accounts, one with R35m and another with R224,000. 

One of the duties assigned to Makwamba by the DRC’s ministry of defence was to purchase weapons from the Denel Group.   

“The DRC embassy made a payment of R49.6m to Denel. However, Denel could not process the order and arranged to pay back the money to the DRC embassy,” NPA spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana said. 

She said in December 2022, the DRC government terminated Makwamba’s contract and he was no longer mandated to represent the country. However, he allegedly fraudulently and unlawfully represented himself to Denel as the delegated representative of DRC.

“He was still a signatory of the defence account of the DRC and had the authority to instruct them on where to make the refund payment.” 

The brigadier provided Denel with bank account details belonging to a firm of attorneys into which Denel paid the R49.6m refund on April 13 2023.

The funds were then transferred to the two bank accounts and the money was used to buy the properties which were then registered under his and his children’s names and other people from the DRC.

Investigations by the Financial Intelligence Centre revealed the flow of funds which led to the identification of the two bank accounts.

“The four properties are now under the control of a curator bonus. The next step is to apply for the final forfeiture order. After obtaining this the properties will be sold at a public auction and the money returned to the DRC,” Mahanjana said.