Ex housing minister linked to suspect AgriBEE deals

As we continue to track money gone missing from the R100 million AgriBEE fund, more questionalbe transactions are emerging. Stephan Hofstätter reports

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As we continue to track money gone missing from the R100 million AgriBEE fund, more questionalbe transactions are emerging. Stephan Hofstätter reports.

Former Gauteng housing minister Dan Mofokeng has been linked to property transactions allegedly paid for by a R100 million AgriBEE fund being investigated by police. The fund was set up by the agriculture department to support resettled black farmers.
According to a forensic report compiled by auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), R50 million was earmarked for equity and R50 million for small enterprise development. The report, obtained by Farmer’s Weekly, was commissioned by the Land Bank last year after its former chief financial officer, Xolile Ncame, presented the board with a dossier outlining suspicious payments from the AgriBEE fund.
The report and documents show over R80 million was disbursed for projects from a special account in the Land Bank until payments were frozen after PWC warned further investigation was needed to address the risk of financial reporting fraud.
Land Bank CEO Phakamani Hadebe confirmed in March that all AgriBEE cases had been investigated by private detectives and some had been referred to the police’s Serious Economic Offences Unit. He declined to comment on specific cases.

Several suspicious transactions
PWC’s preliminary forensic report flagged several payments that didn’t match a schedule of projects approved by the agriculture department. At least one of these payments, to an entity called Camdon, is allegedly linked to Mofokeng through his company Nzhelele Resources Africa. Mofokeng is married to Gauteng legislature’s community safety committee chairperson Jacqueline Mofokeng. He is also a close associate of former Land Bank boss Dr Phil Mohlahlane.
Last week, Farmer’s Weekly reported allegations are mounting that Dr Mohlahlane  siphoned money from the AgriBEE fund he controlled. The agriculture department has refused to comment on speculation that Dr Mohlahlane’s dismissal in December as deputy director general of agriculture was linked to the forensic investigation into the fund.
But documents seen by Farmer’s Weekly show in at least one case that AgriBEE funds were allegedly channelled via the trust account of Matuba Maponya Attorneys in Polokwane to pay for a luxury property in Saddlebrooks Estate, Gauteng, in Dr Mohlahlane’s name.
Mofokeng was in regular contact with Dr Mohlahlane when AgriBEE project funding under his control was being disbursed, documents show. This was confirmed by several government sources. Mofokeng’s company Nzhelele received funding on at least one occasion during this period, a Land Bank analysis of the AgriBEE transactions shows.
In January 2008, R3,5 million was transferred to Nzhelele for a 50% stake in Camdon Feedlot, which also received another R3 million for “feasibility studies”, the internal document shows. Mofokeng was sole director of Nzhelele at the time. Neither he nor the agriculture department were prepared to shed any light on whether this project was ever implemented.
A month after the funds were disbursed, Nzhelele bought a R2 million property at the exclusive Six Fountains Estates in Pretoria, deeds records show. Records obtained by Farmer’s Weekly indicate Dr Mohlahlane  occupies the property with his wife. This was confirmed by a relative who has visited them several times.
Dr Mohlahlane  has declined to discuss the AgriBEE transactions, claiming he’s the victim of political intrigues. “I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mofokeng is also allegedly linked to another property transaction involving AgriBEE funds. Documents in Farmer’s Weekly’s possession show Matuba Maponya Attorneys deposited R5,3 million in a Pretoria conveyancer’s account in May 2008 on behalf of a company called Circle Way Trading 167 for the purchase of the farm Droogekloof in Limpopo. Mofokeng signed the sale agreement as sole director of Circle Way, which became the registered owner of the property, company registration documents and deeds records show. SJ Coetzee Conveyancers confirmed it received two cash deposits in May totalling R5,3 million from Matuba Maponya Attorneys on Mofokeng’s behalf for the purchase of this farm. Financial records seen by Farmer’s Weekly suggest the bulk of this money came from the AgriBEE fund.

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No explanations
The agriculture department declined to explain why its AgriBEE funds were allegedly being used to bankroll properties belonging to Mofokeng’s companies. Jacqueline Mofokeng referred queries about her husband’s business interests to him, but he didn’t return calls or reply to detailed text messages or e-mails. – Stephan Hofstätter