Bongani Bongo on his charges: ‘We know who is behind this’

Bongani Bongo on his charges: 'We know who is behind this'
PURSUED: Mpumalanga ANC heavyweight Adv Bongani Bongo appeared at the Mbombela Magistrates Court Wednesday this week over charges of corruption in a case that dates back almost a decade. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/ZK

He says his case is brought for the sole reason of discrediting him.

ANC NEC member Bongani Bongo has said when the right time comes the people behind smear campaigns in the party’s internal battles will be known.

He told journalists the alleged smear campaigns against him started 2 days after he was appointed state security minister in October 2017 – where he began experiencing serious political attacks.

He was charged with 2 counts of corruption Wednesday this week at the Mbombela Magistrates Court, adding on top of another unrelated charge of corruption in Cape Town.

Bongo said he found the charges against him “disturbing and malicious” and are attempted at discredit him.

He said when the “right time comes those who are dealing with this will be exposed”.

“But I’m aware that these sequence of arrests and the abuse of state resources for selfish political ends are continuing,” he said shortly after appearing in Mbombela on Wednesday midday.

Bongani Bongo on his charges: 'We know who is behind this'
Former intelligence minister Bongani Bongo. 013NEWS/ZK

Bongo appeared alongside 10 other co-accused who face different charges from his – ranging from theft, fraud, money-laundering and breaching rules prescribed by the public finance management act.

One of the accused is deputy president DD Mabuza’s critic and his former deputy David Dube who is charged with 4 counts of money-laundering and 1 of contravening the public finance management act.

Bongo and his younger brother Sipho Bongo face 2 counts of corruption.

Bongani is the 8th accused while Sipho is the 9th.

The first accused is Robert Burwise – charged with 2 counts of fraud, 2 of money-laundering and 1 of theft – and Patrick Chirwa is 2nd accused.

Bongani Bongo on his charges: 'We know who is behind this'
Former ANC provincial deputy chairman and then HOD of human settlements David Dube is accused 7 in the matter. 013NEWS/ZK

The matter concerns two land deals that were entered into by the Mpumalanga human settlements department in 2010 amounting to R74 million, according to national prosecutions spokesman Sipho Ngwema.

Dube was head of department at the time and is described as the “accounting officer” in court while Bongo served as legal adviser.

Bongo served as adviser in the department between 2005 and 2012.

The NPA alleges Bongo benefited an amount of R300 000 on 25 May 2011, paid towards the purchase of a BMW X5 in Sipho’s name.

But Bongo told journalists that his only crime was to drive his younger brother’s car. He said even the insurance on the current one that he drives is paid by Sipho.

He said there is a serious bond between himself and his siblings.

“My parents cannot read and write. So I got to the university through the assistance of comrades,” Bongo said outside the Mbombela Magistrates Court while speaking to the media.

Bongani Bongo on his charges: 'We know who is behind this'
Bongani Bongo addressed journalists outside the Mbombela Magistrates Court

“When I came back I had to assist all my siblings. My siblings are quite educated. My younger brother is an accountant, he runs an audit firm and my sister is a lawyer,” he said, adding that he has always been a disciplined fellow.

“They are saying my brother worked with some sub-contractors who were doing the work and then I then drove his car [allegedly paid for by the sub-contractors]. I find the charges to be disturbing and malicious and meant to discredit me,” Bongo said.

Bongo told journalists that his opponents now know that in the Western Cape charge “there is no case”.

“We have been given an affidavit by the state written by one of the state witnesses that says Advocate Vanara was actually bought to do whatever that he did,” Bongo said.

On the Mbombela case, Bongo said those who have charged him “are not even clear with the charges”.

“They are saying they are still going to look at adding other charges. So having ran this case since 2010 they are calling me to court to tell me that they are still busy with it. For me it shows somebody is pushing them,” he said.

“But at the right time we will expose all the people who are dealing with this,” he said.

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The NPA announced that they are looking at adding another count of corruption to the Bongo brothers’ 2 counts.

The NPA said between March 2010 to July 2012 luxury cars were allegedly bought for Dube who was at the time human settlement HOD by companies involved in the land deal.

In 2012 the alleged deposit towards the purchase of a R1.2 million Merc E63 for Dube was made. Dube allegedly benefited about R200 000 when he purchased a Lexus LX570 after he had declared his salary as his sole source of income.

Ehlanzeni ANC leader Ngrai Ngwenya came to court to support ANC NEC member Bongani Bongo. 013NEWS/ZK

Prosecutors say the alleged R300 000 bribe that Bongo is charged with was to “wit” Mduduzi Singwane, one of the co-accused in the matter charged with 3 counts of fraud and 4 of corruption “whether for the benefit of [Bongo] or for the benefit of another person, in order to act, personally or by influencing another person to act in a manner that amounts to the illegal, dishonest, unauthorised, incomplete, or biased exercise”.

But Bongo said he drove his brother’s car and doesn’t think that was a sin, insofar as a quarter of its payment made was by companies involved in alleged fraud.

It is only the Bongo brothers whose charge is schedule 1, the other accused in the matter face more serious charges, like theft, fraud and money-laundeering.

Bongani Bongo on his charges: 'We know who is behind this'
Robert Burwise, at the Mbombela Magistrates Court on 28 October 2020. 013NEWS/ZK

The case includes 4 companies that are also charged, giving the NPA a total of 69 counts.

Magistrate Susan Monaledi granted the accused bail.

Bongo said he hoped “the concorted charges” against him will be “finalised” and he will be “properly cleared”.

The NPA said one of the two land deals is in Ermelo and the other in eMalahleni.

The matter returns to the Mbombela court on 4 March 2021. The Western Cape matter returns on 17 November 2020.

(edited by ZK)

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