The raid of safe deposit boxes owned by a businessman and former adviser to former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane, Kubentheran Moodley, seized by the State Capture Inquiry Commission, has been deemed unlawful by the South Gauteng High Court, The Sunday Independent has revealed.
This after Moodley’s safe deposit boxes, which were rented at security facility Knox Titanium Vault Company in Houghton, were seized on June 24.
The commission was found to have “exceeded their authority”, Judge Lebogang Modiba ruled, in a months-long saga after the court ruled in favour of Moodley in August.
The ruling was subsequently contested by the State Capture Commission, but their appeal was lost last week.
IOL reported in July that Moodley had been branded a ‘Gupta fixer’, and was seen to be the alleged link that facilitated millions of rands to be looted through other Gupta-linked companies.
Accusations included Moodley allegedly assisting Trillian Capital to loot Eskom, using money from his company Albatime to help the Guptas buy Optimum Coal Mine, and helping steal money from the North West government.
South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) exchange control expert Elijah Mazibuko told the commission in June of how the Guptas used their letterbox company Homix to gain access to millions of rands in kickbacks – which became part of the Sarb’s investigation into accounts of the shell company between 2014 and 2015, when more than R500 million was moved.
It was alleged that Moodley’s role involved the transfer of R596,658.84 from Regiments Capital to Albatime on February 5 2015.
The commission reportedly received a warrant from Knox to seize safe deposit boxes, after it was suspected that they were being used to safely store proceeds from a Gupta-linked company.
Moodley claimed during court proceedings that Knox had breached their contract with him by allowing the commission access to seize documents, and wanted access returned to his vaults.
Even though the commission later successfully applied for a search-and-seizure court order against Moodley’s boxes, the fact that this was not initially obtained from the court meant the commission’s actions were deemed “unauthorised conduct” by Judge Modiba.
The boxes reportedly contained cash, personal items and business documents, as well as property title deeds.
In addition to Moodley’s grievances, he has claimed that Zondo Commission acting secretary Peter Pedlar issued statements of a defamatory nature to gain access to the safe deposit boxes, and mislead the courts.
Among the statements against Moodley by Pedlar included that he may have been engaged in criminal activities, that payment received from his company was not legal, and that foreign currency was stored in his boxes unlawfully, to name a few, according to The Sunday Independent.
Pedlar’s statements prompted former Transnet CEO Siyabonga Gama to write to the commission that Pedlar should withdraw statements made against Moodley.
Pedlar, who was appointed to the commission in January, has reportedly since left his position to start a new job in the Free State.
Background reporting by Brian Sokutu
(Compiled by Nica Schreuder)