Investigators are scrutinising EFF leader Julius Malema’s bank accounts.
● The Zondo commission goes after EFF leader Julius Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu in its investigation of state capture.
In a move that exposes a replacement area of inquiry beyond the acts of former president Jacob Zuma and his allies, subpoenas were issued to the country’s major banks to supply all Malema’s financial records.
Subpoenas seen by the Sunday Times show the Zondo commission is additionally after the financial records of Malema’s wife, Mantoa, his late grandmother, Sarah, his lawyer, Ian Levitt, his Ratanang Family Trust and variety of other companies linked to him through his associates.
Also on the list is Shivambu, his brother Brian and Brian’s companies, which allegedly illegally benefited from the R2.3bn VBS Mutual Bank heist. There are a minimum of 36 individuals and entities whose financial records the commission’s investigators are scrutinising to work out if money from state coffers found its way into their accounts.
The investigators are studying the bank records after information was provided by whistleblowers, an investigation insider said in the week .
Last week, the Sunday Times reported that the commission’s investigators had issued subpoenas for bank accounts connected to Zuma, his trusts and three of his daughters.
On Friday, Zuma lambasted the commission and this newspaper during a statement, saying his children were off-limits. The Sunday Times has seen further subpoenas for the bank accounts of Zuma’s current and former allies (see page 4).
But in the week , the Sunday Times can reveal that Malema and his associates also are under the Zondo microscope. The subpoenas issued to the banks earlier this year instruct them handy over financial records belonging to the EFF leader and his associates dating to the day the accounts were opened. Failure to comply would be a violation of the Commissions Act.
A banking sector source said: “They want to understand whether the person or persons have any account facilities with the bank … They also want the bank to specify whether the person was using internet banking or not. this is often important because they need to ascertain which cellphone number was receiving the transaction notifications.
“They want full details about whether accounts were closed, and [if so] where the funds were deposited to. they need all records of forex transactions.”
Another source on the brink of the commission’s investigations told the Sunday Times the banks had complied and investigators were now analysing the relevant bank records.
“These investigations are complex and that we can’t conclude them without watching what the advantages were,” this source said.
“The benefits are in fact financial, therefore the biggest source of that information is financial services, and in fact numbers never lie — the knowledge stays there.”
Until now there has been no indication that Malema, Shivambu, their families and associates were a target of the state capture inquiry. A source on the brink of the investigation said the financial benefits being probed relate to variety of state contracts.
Malema told the Sunday Times he wasn’t conscious of any subpoenas for his bank records or those of his wife and grandmother.
“Why would he [Zondo] go and appearance for our statements when no-one has implicated us? they ought to have asked me, i might have given it to them. i’m liable for my grandmother’s estate and that i would have given it to them,” he said.
“They attend the banks and ask about us and you recognize what the banks do? They get those things [subpoenas] and obtain agitated then they begin eager to close your accounts.
“Even if Zondo calls me to the commission i will be able to go there without a lawyer and account anything. I fought for that commission because I don’t have anything to cover . 101 Junjus Trading may be a company I registered an extended time ago once I was young and it’s been deregistered.”
Levitt also said he was unaware about subpoenas regarding his accounts.
People and corporations with alleged links
to Malema under the commission’s scrutiny include his cousins Matsobane Phaleng and Phumi “Jimmy” Matlebyane, and therefore the companies Santaclara Trading, Vilakazi Restaurant 6877 in Soweto, SGL Engineering and 101 Junjus Trading. (Malema told the Sunday Times he had registered 101 Junjus Trading an extended time ago and had later deregistered it.)
Companies linked to Floyd and Brian Shivambu include Grand Azania and Sgameka Projects.
The Shivambu brothers, Phaleng and Matlebyane didn’t answer calls and WhatsApp messages sent on Friday and Saturday requesting comment.
In November last year, the Sunday Times reported on how many rands flowed from accounts belonging to Levitt and other companies doing work for the Limpopo provincial government into Santaclara Trading, a corporation registered to Matlebyane.
The company’s bank statements, which became a part of the investigation of the looting of VBS Bank, showed that between March and September 2017 many payments were made to the corporate , often in multiples of R100,000.
In March 2017 alone, Levitt appears to possess deposited R300,000 into the account. At the time Levitt declined to discuss “matters which are clearly privileged and confidential”. Just over R4m in payments to Santaclara were flagged as “concerning” in an accompanying analysis of the statements.
Another depositor was LTE Consulting, the corporate behind the controversial R2.2bn project to provide water to northern Limpopo, which deposited R200,000 into the account.
Floyd Shivambu, through his brother’s company Grand Azania, allegedly received R1.1m from VBS and an extra R3.3m payment.
Another company belonging to Brian, Sgameka Projects, received a R4m loan from VBS in 2017, R1.78m of which the courts ordered him to pay back. additionally , Floyd allegedly benefited from R680,000 of VBS money that Brian wont to buy him a variety Rover Sport.
Grand Azania also paid R500,000 to Santaclara, suggesting that this is often how money from VBS found its way into the hands of Malema or the EFF.
At the time, Malema insisted he had “no relationship” with Santaclara, which fell under the spotlight after Matlebyane, a 27-yearold DJ, applied for a bond to shop for a four-bedroom, four-bathroomhouse for R3.2m within the upmarket Polokwane suburb of Bendor. Another Matlebyane company, Vuur Trading and Projects, has also had its bank accounts subpoenaed.
All the main banks told the Sunday Times they’re co-operating with the Zondo commission and supplying any information requested. The banks have declined to discuss the individuals and corporations laid out in the subpoenas.