Flamboyant ‘political operator’ Lawrence Mulaudzi scores Petro SA gas tender…What to know
As the PetroSA-Gazprombank 'plot' thickens, here's the rap sheet of Lawrence Mulaudzi who scored the corporation's offshore gas tender.
Controversial businessman Lawrence Mulaudzi. Photo: Supplied
Petroleum, Oil and Gas Corporation of South Africa’s (PetroSA) deal with Equator Holding, run by “political operator” Lawrence Mulaudzi, to “explore offshore gas reserves and rebuild critical gas infrastructure” alongside Russia’s Gazprombank, has been raising eyebrows…and questions.
PetroSA: Gazprombank and ‘political operator’ Lawrence Mulaudzi
In December last year, PetroSA announced its controversial R3.7-billion offshore gas reserve exploration undertaking with Russia’s Gazprombank.
Hours later, the corporation officially roped Mulaudzi’s Equator Holding in by signing a massive tender deal with the politically connected businessman, who is also rumoured to be songstress Makhadzi’s boyfriend.
DA submits PAIA application to PetroSA
On Friday, the Democratic Alliance (DA) submitted a PAIA application to PetroSA, requesting a record of the decision which motivated the awarding of the tender.
The tender deal includes refurbishing the FA offshore platform – which connects offshore gas to pipelines that bring it onshore – and the gas portion of PetroSA’s Mossel Bay refinery.
PetroSA confirmed that in each of these cases, Equator will both fund and execute the projects.
How will Mulaudzi fund gas tender deal?
“The conduct of the PetroSA executives raises questions about how the tender was awarded when there were obvious glaring inconsistences showing that Equator Holdings did not qualify,” DA Shadow Minister of Mineral resources and Energy, Kevin Mileham, said.
According to the DA MP, Equator Holdings allegedly did not provide evidence that they had the R22 billion needed to finance the deal – which was a prerequisite to win the contract.
“Mulaudzi is using the tender for speculative purposes to try and see if he can get funding – and secure a cut for himself – from anyone willing to invest into the project,” Mileham claimed.
“Already, there are reports that he has been courting the Russians for this purpose.”
Equator Holdings boasts no track record in gas industry
Mileham added that Equator Holdings has no verifiable track record in the gas industry yet they somehow side-stepped the requirement that “any successful bidder must be an established player” to be eligible for the tender award.
Lawrence Mulaudzi: PIC, Shivambu and Mkhize
The DA’s concerns are echoed in an investigative report by amaBhungane, highlighting the fact that the Limpopo businessman and former soccer club owner was mentioned 176 times in the Mpati Commission report into malfeasance and corruption at the Public Investment Corporation (PIC).
The publication also noted that Mulaudzi has been accused of channelling money to a company linked to EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu, and a trust linked to former ANC treasurer Zweli Mkhize.
Financial record: Bye bye, Bentley…
It also reported on the flamboyant business tycoon’s precarious personal financial position with his Bentley previously seized by Absa.
The bank also obtained two debt judgments against him totalling R2.8-million last year and his former landlord Aucap tried to repossess his Camps Bay home over unpaid rent.
‘We have every intention to deliver’ – Mulaudzi
Mulaudzi however claimed in a two-page reply to these questions that Equator Holding complied with PetroSA requirements.
“Although we cannot disclose the details of the transactions as we are bound by legal confidentiality provisions, we can confidently state that Equator Holding complied with PetroSA requirements… We have every intention to deliver, and we will!”