The Run of Play is a blog about
the wonder and terror of soccer.
We left the window open during a match in October 2007 and a strange wind blew into the room.
Now we walk the forgotten byways of football with a lonely tread, searching for the beautiful, the bewildering, the haunting, and the absurd.
Remember Lefika Emerging Equity, the company allegedly behind the corruption besetting the Mbombela World Cup stadium project? They’ve come up repeatedly in the story of Jimmy Mohlala’s murder, and never on the right side: they collaborated with Jacob Dladla, whose crimes Mohlala helped reveal, on various forms of graft and contract fraud; they committed the bank fraud into which Mohlala was set to begin an investigation on the day after he was killed. And they’re even more interesting than your average corporate villain, because they’re co-owned by the Motaung family, the South African soccer dynasty that also controls the powerful Kaizer Chiefs club.
Now the Mail & Guardian reports that their chief executive officer, Chris Grib, fled the country late last year after Lefika was implicated in a World Cup-related tax evasion case.
The Mail & Guardian understands that Lefika fraudulently obtained a tax clearance certificate with the help of an employee of the South African Revenue Service (Sars) in 2006. The employee has since been suspended by Sars and an investigation is ongoing.
The tax clearance certificate enabled Lefika to bid for 2010 tenders in the Mbombela municipality. When Grib learned about the Sars investigation late last year he vanished.
Seems like a nice group of people. The same article has a good summary of the Mbombela corruption in general and Jimmy Mohlala’s role in bringing it to light, including new details on Peter Nyoni, the African National Congress official who’s been “fingered as the party’s enforcer” in its conflict with Mohlala. In the meantime the Motaungs have been busy going after newspapers in the courts for alleging a connection between Lefika and the killing. Although not, according to at least one journalist, without trying to bribe them first.
Elsewhere in South Africa, the Zulu chief Mbongeleni Zondi was killed Thursday when gunmen with AK-47s opened fire on his car. It’s another apparent political assassination—Zondi was an ally of ANC president Jacob Zuma (who’s had his own troubles with corruption)—and while it probably has no direct relation to the World Cup, it points to a worsening political climate that can’t be reassuring for FIFA.
by Brian Phillips · January 24, 2009