The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has said it will not prosecute Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema “at this stage” over the On Point Engineering tenders scandal.
Advocate G. D. Baloyi, Gauteng’s Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, communicated the decision in a letter to AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel on Friday.
Baloyi said he had decided to charge On Point Engineering, represented by Lesiba Gwangwa, as well as Kagisho Dichabe and Thomas Rasethaba for fraud.
On Point Engineering made ‘misrepresentations’
They are alleged to have misrepresented to the Limpopo Department of Roads and Transport in the award of a R51 million tender, he said.
Baloyi said the company and Gwangwa will also face three counts of fraud for having misrepresented to the same department and professional service providers “that On Point was not paid for the road drawings and designs whereas it was paid R8,432,114.13.”
However Baloyi said he had declined to prosecute Malema “at this stage.” He will wait for the finalisation of the trial against On Point and others before making a decision based on “the record of the proceedings and any credibility findings.”
He added, “A separate investigation will immediately be launched regarding the administration of the Ratanang Family Trust and a decision will be taken hereon after the finalisation of the investigation in this regard.”
Malema, Ratanang Family Trust and On Point Engineering
Malema’s links with On Point Engineering through his Ratanang Family Trust is one of the matters AfriForum has been pressuring NPA to prosecute him for.
Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found that Malema had “improperly benefitted” from the On Point tenders through the Trust.
In 2012, Malema, Gwangwa and Dichabe appeared in court on fraud charges, but the case was struck off the roll in 2015. NPA insisted at the time that the charges could be reinstated.
Before the case was struck off the roll, the state had claimed that Malema allegedly used proceeds from On Point to buy a farm and a Mercedes-Benz.
The controversial leader, who was the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president at the time, believed that the charges were politically motivated.
His lawyer at the time, Nicqui Galaktiou, was quoted saying, “It has come to Mr Malema’s knowledge that there is a political plan to have him arrested and incarcerated within days.”