Case twist for Bobby - Arrest stuns lawyer
DRAMA unfolded in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Friday when Kaizer Chiefs manager Bobby Motaung was arrested on additional charges relating to the construction of the R1,2bn Mbombela Stadium.
Motaung, his business partner Herbert Theledi, former Lefika Emerging Equity CE Chris Grib and lawyer Michael Romanos were each slapped with charges of fraud, corruption and contravening the Municipal Finance Management Act.
Motaung, Theledi and Grib had arrived at court that morning for a separate R143m fraud case relating to the stadium, which was postponed to next month.
"The State had the warrant of arrest on the 19th of February. They should have told us," complained Motaung's lawyer, Zola Majavu, who was outside the courthouse when Motaung phoned from inside to say he was being arrested on new charges.
"My client is not a flight risk. How could they just arrest him in court? They wanted publicity in front of these people," he said, referring to journalists and the public.
Motaung's bodyguards had to wait at court while their boss was taken to the Hawks offices to be charged. When the accused returned to court, the state asked that bail be set at R200000, but Motaung, Theledi and Grib were each released on R15000 after their defence team argued otherwise. Romanos was released on warning.
They will reappear tomorrow along with two other accused - former technical services manager in the Ehlanzeni District Municipality Tebogo Kubeka and former Mbombela municipal manager Jacob Dladla - who were arrested last year.
Prosecutor Patrick Nkuna told the court the new charges involved the loss of R920m and that the accused corruptly collaborated to appoint construction giant Basil Reed to build the stadium. They are accused of appointing a second bid evaluation committee with Dladla's help and without the municipality's knowledge.
Nkuna said the initial committee's recommendations were ignored or sidelined. "The then municipal manager, Mr Dladla, illegally constructed a bid adjudication committee, changed the chairperson of the committee and replaced him with accused number two in this case (Kubeka) and made the previous chairperson a secretary," said Nkuna.
He claimed Romanos, as compliance officer, submitted documents to Dladla knowing the processes had been illegal.
He said all documents were kept at Lefika and none bore the municipality's logo.
He claimed the accused failed to disclose their relationship with Basil Reed.
Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko told journalists that more arrests would be made.
"This is just one part of a bigger fish. As the investigation intensifies, more arrests are looming. In the end, the public will know who did what in the construction of the Mbombela Stadium," said Ramaloko. - African Eye News Service