Assets seized but NPA believes there are more out there
Well, well, well, some of tender tycoon Sodi’s assets can’t be found
NPA asks those with the items, including several luxury cars, to come forward or ‘find themselves in trouble’
Edwin Sodi was living a high life, but all that came crashing down when the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) swooped on his properties, including a mansion in Johannesburg, and luxury vehicles on Tuesday.
But some of the assets the state sought to seize could not be found by close of business. The NPA took aim at 29 vehicles, 27 properties, 19 active accounts and household goods belonging to Sodi and his company, Blackhead Consulting.
The seizures are related to the R255m asbestos scandal in the Free State, where Blackhead Consulting and Diamond Hill Trading were in a joint venture that won the tender for an asbestos audit in 2014.
It is understood that luxury cars the state could not find included a white 2017 Rolls-Royce Ghost Family Dawn, a blue 2017 Bentley Continental Supersports convertible and a 2017 Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG.
The NPA dispatched a team across Johannesburg to locate the assets that form part of a preservation order granted by the Bloemfontein High Court last week.
NPA spokesperson Sipho Ngwema appealed to those in possession of the missing assets to come forward as they risk “finding themselves in trouble as well”.
Ngwema said the curator was doing inventories at various properties in Bryanston, Johannesburg, as well as attaching a number of other assets.
“Of course, they will also attach the houses, but the accused can remain [in] or still have custody of the houses. But they are not allowed to transfer them, they are not allowed to do any alterations to them. The only thing they must [do is] pay taxes and rates, and maintain those properties to the standards they are in now,” he said.
The state is seeking to freeze R300m worth of assets belonging to Sodi and his six co-accused, including former Mangaung mayor Olly Mlamleli and former HoD of the Free State’s department of human settlements Nthimotse Mokhesi. They are accused of fraud and corruption related to the asbestos project.
The seven accused in the case were arrested last week and appeared in court, where they were released on bail ranging from R100,000 for former Free State human settlement’s supply chain head Mahlomola John Matlakala to R500,000 for Sodi.
The assets seized in Bryanston included a white Bentley, a red Ferrari and a black Porsche Cayenne. Others were a 2017 white Bentley Continental GT coupé, with a book value of between R3m and R5m, a 2017 red Ferrari Four F151 with a book value of at least R3m and a 2019 black Porsche Cayenne S coupé worth just less than R2m.