ONE. The lifestyle, business prospects and political aspirations of EFF president Julius Malema were funded from the R16.1-million robbed from VBS Mutual Bank and paid out to Sgameka Projects, the company of the brother of EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, Brian.
Malema’s share of the loot was R5.3-million and it was dumped into his slush fund, Mahuna Investments. Malema spent the VBS money on clothing from Gucci and Louis Vuitton, groceries from Checkers and Woolworths, the Polokwane party venue Mekete Lodge, the house he once rented in Sandown, Johannesburg, as well as on accommodation and travel costs between EFF events. The name of his eldest son appears in the bank statements relating to school fees, and a trust named after his second son also received a small amount of VBS money. And yes, a big chunk of VBS money was used for the benefit of the EFF. Over 40% of the transactions Scorpio analysed further show the bank card followed Malema around the country. Malema has vehemently denied any link to the VBS robbery and Mahuna Investments in the past.
TWO. Mahuna Investments is legally the company of Matsobane Phaleng, Malema’s cousin. Phaleng denied ever having received any money from VBS bank. However, R4.8-million worth of payments in nine tranches were clearly marked “Vbscredits*shivambu”. Another R500,000 was paid to Mahuna Investments in May 2018 by Grand Azania, the slush fund of Floyd Shivambu. (Read more about Grand Azania and its link to Floyd Shivambu soon on Daily Maverick Scorpio – Ed) In 2012 Phaleng denied any relations to Malema. This month he told Scorpio it is a well-known fact that Malema is one of his many cousins.
THREE. We know this, because Scorpio analysed 470 transactions reflecting in the Absa bank statements of Mahuna Investments between 2017 and 2018. These, including the VBS bank statements of Sgameka Projects and the Standard Bank bank statements of Grand Azania, form part of a broader criminal investigation into wrongdoing at VBS. It is, however, only VBS liquidator Anoosh Rooplal who has shown results for his work so far. Rooplal liquidated and sequestrated several of the VBS bank managers, some related family members and related companies, including robber-in-chief and former VBS CEO Tshifiwa Matodzi. This in an attempt to claw back some of the R1.89-billion robbed from VBS-depositors. Brian must also pay back R2.78-million for a business loan Sgameka Projects received from VBS.
FOUR. Mahuna Investments received over R10-million between 2017 and 2018. About half of it, R5.3-million, is VBS loot. Malema spent about just as much in the same period. Some of the big ticket items he splashed on in the two years include almost half a million in what seems to be suits from designer Linda Makhanya. These are marked as “cooperate wear” in the bank statements. Another half million was channelled towards the house and pool at 49a Edward Rubenstein, Sandown, Johannesburg. Malema once rented there. A third half million was spent on the Opulent Experience Marquee in July 2017 – it is a tent pitched for the Durban July. The property was later registered as an EFF asset. Malema also spent over R2-million on Polokwane party venue Mekete Lodge. The money seems to be meant for upgrades to the infrastructure.
FIVE. Phaleng disagrees with Scorpio’s findings. He claims all the expenses were his own, that Mahuna Investments is a legitimate business and that he has done no wrong. The bank statements however seem to contradict his statements and his social media does not suggest that he was present wherever the bank card was used.
Phaleng said all taxes have been paid. Yet, the bank statements show no tax or VAT being paid to SARS. In fact, the bank statements suggest this was no bona fide company at all. Operational expenses are missing and the income seems dodgy. At least R5.3-million is VBS money and therefore proceeds of crime. Another R500,000 was received from Afrirent, which amaBhungane said may have been a kickback for a dodgy R1-billion fleet deal involving the City of Johannesburg. The additional income needs further investigation.
Phaleng further states that he deserved the income from Sgameka Projects and Grand Azania by delivering consulting services. This cannot be as Sgameka Projects was never a real business. It is a slush fund that derived its only income from VBS. These were illegal payments with no documentation underpinning its worth. Sgameka Projects had, like Mahuna Investments, no operational expenses and did not function as a business. Phaleng’s claim of consulting for Sgameka Projects cannot be true.
SIX. Malema’s share of R5.3-million equals about four years’ salary to him as a member of Parliament. Speaking of parliament. Malema would be in a bind if he denies that Mahuna Investments is his. His children derived benefit from Mahuna Investments, as well as the house that he once lived in. It is a Catch 22-situation: If Malema did not declare a donation by Mahuna Investments which contributed to the welfare of his children and his house, he’ll be in trouble with parliament. If he comes out and confirms that Mahuna Investments is his, he concedes to have committed several crimes, including money laundering. The whole scheme of funneling money from VBS towards Malema through two front companies was designed to mask the origin and the ultimate beneficiary of the money.
SEVEN. The Mahuna Investments bank card followed Malema to locations like the Durban July in 2017 and 2018; the 2018 land debate in Vryburg, Mmabatho and Rustenburg; the EFF’s birthday celebrations in July 2018; Christmas and new year celebrations in Seshego and Polokwane; and Cape Town during the land debate in Parliament. A large chunk of the company’s expenses were also effected within a 3,6-km radius around the house Malema is “renting” from cigarette boss Adriano Mazzotti in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.
EIGHT. Phaleng said “we are taking legal advice as to whether it is legal for you to obtain our bank statements without our consent because we suspect that you used illegal methods to get them”. 121
He did not explain who the “we” are he refers to.
Scorpio will welcome legal action and a chance to investigate more of Mahuna Investments’ income and expenses which supported Malema’s lifestyle, business propositions and political aspirations. DM