“Asbestos Seven case”: State seizes 25 cars, including a Ferrari, Rolls Royce and Bentley from fraud and corruption suspect

AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER

Luxury sports cars worth hundreds of millions of rands – including a Ferrari FF, a Rolls Royce Ghost Family Dawn and Bentley Continental GT Sports Convertible were among the 25 vehicles taken from fraud and corruption suspect Edwin Sodi, the businessman on a R500 000 bail.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), pounced and attached the vehicles at the Bryanston, Johannesburg headquarters of Blackhead Consulting, a company owned by Sodi (47) who is on trial, with six others for fraud and corruption relating to an R255-million asbestos tender.

The vehicles were attached in terms of a court order obtained by the AFU last week, which has also entitled them to freeze Sodi’s 12 bank accounts.

The cars and the bank accounts are now in the custody  of court appointed curators pending the outcome of the criminal case against the “Asbestos Seven”.

The seized property includes property, houses, luxurious cars, bank and family trust accounts, household goods, shareholding. 

In a statement, Sipho Ngwema, a spokesperson of the National Prosecuting Authority said: “The accused or anyone else, besides persons authorised by the court, who is aware of the order, is prohibited from dealing with the property.  Notwithstanding the freezing of their fixed properties, such property shall remain in custody of the seven accused and they will have full use of it, pay rates and taxes and maintain the it pending subsequent successful confiscation application.   

They are prohibited from making any changes, sell or transfer ownership of the property without the consent of the curator and in consultation with the AFU. They must, however, at any stage make the property available for inspection to the curator or a representative of the AFU.”  

The AFU has also started to attach assets owned by the other six suspects.

Other members of the “Asbestos Seven” are:

  • Nthimotse Mokhesi (61). Head of the Free State Department of Human Settlements. Out on bail of R100 000.
  • John Matlakala (42). Director of Supply Chain Management in the Free State Department of Human Settlements. Out of bail of R50 000..
  • Sello Radebe (56). Businessman. Out on bail: R100 000
  • Abel Manyeki (38). Businessman. Out on bail: R100 000.
  • Thabane Zulu (53). Former director-general of the Free State Department of Human Settlements. Out on bail R100 000.
  • Sarah “Olly” Mlamleli. (63). Former MEC for Human Settlements in the Free State and ex-Mayor of Mangaung. Out of bail:  R100 000.

The “Asbestos Seven” appeared in court along with five companies Blackhead Consulting, Diamond Hill Trading 71 (Pty) Ltd, 605 Consulting Solutions (Pty) Ltd, Mastertrade 232 (Pty) Ltd, and Ori Group (Pty) Ltd. They all charges that include fraud, theft, attempted theft, corruption in contravention of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004, money laundering in contravention of section 4 of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act 121 of 1998 (POCA) as well as the  contravention of various Asbestos Regulations, promulgated in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993.

Their appearance follows an investigation that was started by the Special Investigating Unit which referred the matter under Proclamation R39 of 2019, to the NPA and the Hawks. A criminal investigation by the Free State members of the Hawks, the Free State Office of the DPP and other NPA units such as the AFU.



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