The National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) has taken action against individuals involved in a high-profile gold mining syndicate operating in Khutsong and Carletonville. The NPA has seized cars, homes, and money from three foreign nationals and their wives who are allegedly connected to the illicit activities.
In a recent development, the NPA has obtained a preservation order of over R3 million to safeguard the accused individuals’ properties.
According to Lumka Mahanjana, the NPA’s Gauteng spokesperson, the accused, namely Bethuel Ngobeni, Lerato Bathebeng, Poppy Mathongwane, Dumisani Moyo, Nhlanhla Leon Magwaca, Neo Susan Duba, and Thabo Sechele, are believed to have obtained these assets through unlawful means.
It has also been discovered that the accused individuals, who hail from Zimbabwe and Mozambique, possessed fake South African identity documents. The AFU had previously obtained three preservation orders last year, totaling over R20 million.
These orders encompassed 55 vehicles, 10 properties in Khutsong and Carletonville, as well as R91,000 in cash and valuable assets.
Mahanjana further explained that the NPA will now seek forfeiture orders, which, if granted, will lead to the properties being sold at public auction. The proceeds from the auction will be deposited into the Criminal Asset Recovery Account (Cara).
The trial against the six accused, along with three others, has been transferred to the Pretoria High Court and is scheduled to commence on July 24. The charges they face include money laundering and racketeering.
This latest action by the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit demonstrates the commitment to combatting illegal activities and ensuring that ill-gotten gains are seized and returned to the state.