Juju funder nailed
Julius Malema’s business partner, confidant and alleged funder, Lesiba Gwangwa, has been provisionally placed under curatorship, in an attempt by the SA Revenue Service to recoup millions in unpaid taxes from the once-powerful and influential Limpopo businessman.
The revenue service wants to sell the 33-year old engineer-cum-businessman’s 16 properties and vehicles, totalling millions.
His name has been at the centre of several investigations probing corruption in the province’s multibillion state tenders.
The draft order reveals that the man dubbed “Mr Cash” owes Sars income tax and VAT dating back to 2007.
The Sunday Independent could not establish the total tax owed, but it is believed it amounts to millions, so the taxman wants to have a say in Gwangwa’s every transaction.
This week Sars made the application in chambers at the Pretoria High Court. The provisional order gives Gwangwa until February 15 to give reasons why it should not be made final.
Should the order be made final, by the end of February it will result in the following:
l Gwangwa and his companies will have to pay the curator 20 percent of all the money earned.
l He will have to hand over all his cars and those belonging to his companies, which are not used in the “ordinary course of business”. They will then be sold;
l The curator will take control of his seven businesses: On-Point Engineers, Mminathoko Infrastructure, Segwalo Consulting Engineers, Qualis Health and Safety Consultants Services, SGL Engineering Projects, Guilder Investments and Gwama Properties;
l The curator has also been authorised to sell the 16 properties listed in Gwangwa’s name and owned by his companies and family trust.
This includes a stand in the upmarket Blue Valley Golf and Country Estate in Midrand, a luxury flat in the Cape Town CBD, eight properties in the Polokwane suburb of Bendor, a farm in Limpopo, two houses in Pretoria, another house in Welgelegen, Polokwane, and a house in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.
The Sunday Independent has calculated that Gwangwa forked out more than R20m to purchase these properties years ago. But their current market value could be far more than the initial amounts paid.
Deputy Judge President Willem van der Merwe appointed Cloete Murray of Sechaba Trust as curator. Contacted yesterday, Murray declined to comment.
Steven Powell, the director for forensics at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs attorneys, yesterday explained that Murray would “step into the shoes” of Gwangwa and manage the estate so that the funds and assets could not be dissipated before his debt was repaid.
While Powell could not comment specifically on the details of this case, as he had not seen the court papers, he said generally “curatorship is an excellent mechanism to restrain assets if an individual is under suspicion of corruption or illicit activities.”
If the court order is made final, Gwangwa will lose control over his bank accounts and will not conclude deals on behalf of his businesses without first speaking to the curator.
“The Deeds office won’t allow him to sell any properties without the permission of the curator. If he is in the middle of a business transaction the curator will look at the feasibility of that transaction,” Powell said. - The Sunday Independent