Bongo set to face the music in November

Bongo set to face the music in November

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GK CRONJE

31 August 2022

To date, Bongo has maintained his innocence, and claims that he is the target of a personal vendetta.

The court case against Bongani Bongo and his 11 co-accused, Robert Barwise, 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, Sibongile Mercy Mdaka and Sandile Nkosi, who all briefly appeared in the Nelspruit Commercial Crimes Court in April 2022, is set to proceed with pre-trial proceedings as from 8 November 2022. Bongo and his co-accused are expected to submit a plea explanation. The companies Little River Trading 156 (Pty) Ltd, Broad Market Trading 204 (Pty) Ltd, Bongiveli CC, and Pfuka Afrika CC have also implicated and charged in the R74 million fraud case.

The State will then proceed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused are guilty on 69 counts which, amongst others, include corruption, fraud, theft, money laundering and contravention of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA). During the trial, amongst others will be an investigation where Bongiveli CC is alleged to have entered into the sale and purchase agreement with Fremax Farms, for a portion of Rietspruit Farm in Ermelo, for an amount of R10.5-million. The crux is that Msukaligwa Local Municipality’s valuation of the portion of the Rietspruit farm was said to be a mere R1.6 million. Another The other charge relates to the R37 million sale and purchase of a farm in Naauwpoort, eMalahleni by the Department of Human Settlements (DOHS). The legal owner of the farm received a mere R15 million from the sale.

The irregularity took place while Bongo was the head of legal services for the Mpumalanga DOHS, working in tandem with Singwane to allegedly swindle the state. National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Mpumalanga Regional spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, stated that Bongo and his co-accused conspired to defraud the Department Of Human Settlements (DOHS).

“In March 2022, the Department of Human Settlements paid over R52 million to Singwane. Subsequently, the law firm furnished Fremax with a guarantee of R15.6-million. The property was then transferred to Bongiveli from Msukaligwa Local Municipality, and the company became the owner of the farm. The farm was then sold back to DOHS for R32 million, and fell out of Spatial Development Plan for the municipality. It was therefore no longer categorized for human settlement,” Nyuswa said. At that time, Bongo was Head of the Legal Section of the DOHS, and part of the Committee appointed to negotiate the purchase of the farms.

To date, Bongo has maintained his innocence, and claims that he is the target of a personal vendetta.