Jun 18, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Deposit for Herbert Msagala’s Steyn City plot paid for by IGS boss, tribunal hears

The Special Tribunal on Wednesday heard how the estate agency which sold a stand in Steyn City to former Transnet Capital Projects senior executive Herbert Msagala dealt with Sipho Sithole in facilitating the sale of the property.

Sithole is sole director of IGS Consulting Engineers, a company given questionable tenders from Transnet Capital Projects when Msagala was executive in 2015.

When the Special Investigating Unit and Transnet sought the forfeiture of Msagala’s assets to the tune of R18.4m last year, they alleged that these assets were benefits of unlawful activities by Msagala.

They believe Msagala allegedly received the assets from IGS Consulting Engineers.

In December 2019, the high court in Johannesburg set aside five of the contracts concluded between Transnet and entities where IGS was involved.

Paul Kennedy SC, on behalf of the Special Investigating Unit, on Wednesday presented an e-mail from Sithole to Lambert Bezuidenhout, an estate agent from Pam Golding, dated September 15 2015.

In that e-mail, Sithole presented proof of payment of a R50,000 reservation deposit for a stand at Steyn City that Msagala had reserved for purchase. Bezuidenhout explained that a reservation deposit had to be paid for the chosen property before a sale agreement could be concluded.

Kennedy asked Bezuidenhout why Sithole sent proof of payment for the reservation fee, and not Msagala.

“I would have been informed by Mr Msagala that the payment would be coming from another source,” Bezuidenhout said.

Bezuidenhout explained that seven days after the reservation deposit had been paid, a sale agreement needed to be signed. This did not happen in the sale of this property.

Kennedy presented another e-mail from Bezuidenhout to Sithole dated October 23.

In that e-mail, Bezuidenhout informs Sithole about the outstanding sale agreement that needed to be concluded. Bezuidenhout also asks that a resolution from the trustees of the Msagala Investment Trust to purchase the property should be sent to the estate agent.

Kennedy presented an e-mail from Sithole to Bezuidenhout dated October 27 2015, in which Sithole presents the trust’s resolution to purchase the property.

The sale agreement was eventually signed on November 24 2015.

Kennedy presented to the tribunal an account for the stand purchased by the Msagala Investment Trust dated June 1 2016.

It showed that the purchase price of the property was R7m. It showed that five payments of R999,999.90c, and payments of R900,000, R50,000 and R56,000 were made.

Kennedy asked Bezuidenhout why, when the purchaser of the property was Msagala Investment Trust, was Bezuidenhout in correspondence with Sithole.

“I would have been instructed by Mr Msagala to deal with Mr Sithole.”

A conveyancer and attorney, Julian Scher, told the tribunal that his law firm received the payments for the purchase of the property in Steyn City. Scher told the tribunal that the transfer was registered in the deeds office in the name of the trust.

The trial into the alleged financial irregularities involving Msagala, which got under way in the Special Tribunal on Monday, continues on Thursday without Msagala.

When the trial began, Msagala, representing himself, brought an urgent application for the postponement of the trial.

He said he could no longer afford legal representation. Msagala said he had approached Legal Aid SA for assistance and was awaiting response.

The SIU opposed Msagala’s application.