Celebrity bodyguard raked in R60m in Fort Hare looting

Accused linked to deadly scheme to create fear to benefit from tenders

Celebrity bodyguardnAnwar Khan pocketed R62m, allegedly paid hitmen and dished out the most kickbacks.
Celebrity bodyguardnAnwar Khan pocketed R62m, allegedly paid hitmen and dished out the most kickbacks.
Image: Mark Andrews

Celebrity bodyguard Anwar Khan was allegedly the biggest beneficiary in the looting frenzy at the University of Fort Hare, scoring more than R60m in six months for deploying five guards.

Khan’s Pentagon Group is one of eight companies allegedly behind a sophisticated scheme to create fear and panic at the university through deadly shootings and then manufacture urgent security tenders to milk the institution.

He is accused of paying hitmen who murdered Mboneli Vesele, the bodyguard of vice chancellor (VC) Prof Sakhela Buhlungu.

Khan was among 15 people, who include university staff members, who were arrested over the Easter weekend, for being responsible for the institution losing R171m in fraudulent activities. 

Khan, who is known for rendering his protection services to local and international celebrities, is expected to appear at the Dimbaza magistrate’s court in the Eastern Cape on Friday in connection with the fraud and corruption that almost bankrupted the university. The state said it would oppose his and his co-accused and associate Terence Joubert’s bail applications. 

Paul Tladi.
Paul Tladi.
Image: Mark Andrews

According to the indictment, Pentagon Group was handpicked by the university’s director of investigations and vetting, Isaac Plaatjies, who allegedly diverted tender processes to channel money to service providers linked to him in order to receive kickbacks. 

Pantagon Group raked in the most money with R62,3m paid to him in six tranches between June and December in 2022. Horizon scored R33,6m followed by BCHC who made R44,7m and EL Reign who pocketed R10,5m. 

The conclusion of these tender contracts were preceded by violent acts at UFH. On March 17 2022, Prof Buhlungu, the vice chancellor, Prof Vithal, the deputy vice chancellor and Mboneli Vesele, the bodyguard of the VC, were shot at by unknown gunmen. It was followed by another shooting near the house of Nozuko Mabombo (accused 7) on Apri 1 2022. This shooting was later identified as a ploy to create more panic at the university,” read the indictment.

In the beginning of January 2023, Vesele was killed in hail of bullets. It is interesting to note that the hitmen observed Vesele taking the VC to Port Elizabeth and they preferred to wait long hours to kill him on his return late that evening.

Fifteen suspects appear in the Dimbaza magistrate’s court in connection with fraud and corruption charges.
Fifteen suspects appear in the Dimbaza magistrate’s court in connection with fraud and corruption charges.
Image: Mark Andrews

According to the document, the universitys chief financial officer raised his concern about service providers being paid more than R1m without contracts.

When Vesele was employed to guard the VC he took charge of the VCs diary, allowing nobody to see it. Plaaitjies complained about this because he was the head of the department that supervises security services. Vesele was hellbent that Pentagon was not needed to guard the VC, read the document.

OnMay 6 2022, Plaatjies used the recent shootings to apply to UFH for deviation from the formal tender process. It was approved with an allocated budget of R8m.

Plaaitjies was handpicked by Paul Tladi, director of human resources, to lead a new investigation and vetting unit, which was mandated to make security recommendations to guard senior employees. He was given full powers to select service providers.

He took advantage of this unit by selecting people close to him and two weeks later he got into negotiations with Khan who drafted a quotation, which was submitted via Terence Joubert to Plaaitjies private email.

In the quote, the company was going to supply five guards at a cost of R1,4m a month. While the terms of the contract were being negotiated, fleet manager Petrus Roets was killed in Gonubie.

Plaatjies used the killing of Petrus Roets as a tool to consolidate his influence by bringing in the Pentagon Group to render security services. It became clear later that the services to be rendered by Pentagon did not include the protection of the VC who was shot earlier. The VC was guarded by UFH security member Mboneli Vesele, who was recruited from another security agency.

It is alleged that from its proceeds, Pentagon allegedly paid a R1m kickback to Joubert and R1,4m to Plaatjies, who shared his cut with other university staff members.

Khan showed concern when Pentagon’s Group contract was coming to an end in December 2022 and texted Joubert raising his worries. 

We are hoping they renew funds three months are finished, budget depleted. We cant have a quiet Christmas, to which Joubert replied that Plaatjies had promised to return to them.

Yesterday, the court granted R50,000 bail to each of the accused. They are Anna Susana Ansa Smith, Paul Anathanatius Tladi, Lucrecia Claudine Davids, Mbulelo Gingcana, Louis Nkateko Mawila, Nozuko Theodora Mabombo, Thamsanqa Sonjica, Bradley Conradie, Craig Retief and Nthabiseng Keitumetse Makhoba.


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