Church leader’s assets confiscated

Hendrick Mphande

THE Asset Forfeiture Unit swooped on the Theescombe home of a prominent church leader in a pre-dawn raid yesterday.

Among the items confiscated from Bishop Mzukisi Banzana were a luxury property and several expensive cars, all believed to be the proceeds of crime.

The Port Elizabeth High Court last month granted the AFU a preservation order to seize the more than R1.5-million Theescombe house, a BMW 7 series sedan valued at R775912, a BMW 1 series 120i convertible valued at R193000 and a Nissan Pathfinder SUV valued at R473616.

Banzana, the bishop at the Umzi Wase Topiya church in New Brighton, was the general manager of the Mzingisi Development Trust formed in 1992 by the business community and politicians including late ANC stalwart Raymond Mhlaba.

The trust was established with the purpose of addressing the development of large informal settlements in Port Elizabeth townships.

National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesman Tsepo Ndwalaza said Banzana was being investigated for his part in corruption amounting to nearly R3-million and involving MOM Construction.

It is alleged he received R2925092 from MOM Construction and in exchange the construction company was awarded tenders to build RDP houses in the Bethelsdorp area. “It appears that when MOM stopped making payments to Banzana, he in turn gave the tenders to other service providers,” Ndwalaza said.

Approached for comment last night, Banzana said: “I do not know what you are talking about. I do not account to you.”

When The Herald first broke the story three months ago, Banzana placed a R5000 advert in the paper denying the allegations.

Banzana has been given 14 days to respond to the allegations.

Should he fail to disprove the evidence, his house and vehicles will be forfeited to the state.

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