Thursday, October 29, 2020

Boko’s BMW owned by company with links to international fraud and corruption

BY THOBO MOTLHOKA

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko’s luxury BMW with personalised South African licence plates has been registered under a company owned by SA-Indian tycoons with a shady business record, Sunday Standard investigations have revealed. 

Boko has been showing up at the National Assembly with the ‘new’ BMW after his Range Rover Sport was impounded by the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) on tax related charges.

The UDC president subsequently appeared on social media boasting about “swiping another one” before showing up in his new acquisition, a black BMW 7 Series.

Sunday Standard investigations have however traced the BMW to a South African company, Waleed Investment Holdings (PTY) LTD, based in Sandton.

The company is owned by notorious South African business tycoons Abbas Aboo Baker Moti and Salim Ahmed Bobat.

Both Baker Moti and Ahmed, together with Moti’s son Zunaid Moti, and Ashruf Kaka were in 2017 placed on Red Notice alert by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). The four were accused of defrauding a Russian national in an apparent multi Billion US Dollar bogus diamond deal in Lebanon.

The quartet approached the Gauteng High Court in 2017 seeking to interdict the execution of the Interpol warrants in a case involving then SA President Jacob Zuma and senior government ministers.

Abbas Aboo Baker Moti, his son Zunaid, and their two business associates applied to the court seeking an urgent order to Interdict and prevent Zuma’s government from “taking any action of whatsoever nature as a consequence of or on the Red Notice that was posted by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) in respect of Moti, and any further Red Notices posted by Interpol pertaining to his associates relating to the ‘Verdict’ that was issued against the them in Baabda Mount Lebanon.”

The four also sought to prevent the SA government from responding to the Red Notices by informing any official of the Government of Mount Lebanon, including any Lebanese Interpol representative or official, of the fact that the Applicants were within the Republic of South Africa or in any other manner alerting any Lebanese official of the fact thereby directly or indirectly inviting the said Government of Mount Lebanon to request the surrender of the four to Lebanon to be tried for any act referred to, or implied by, the Red Alert.

The Court dismissed their application saying there was no request for extradition from Lebanon and as such the procedures required by the SA Extradition Act had not yet commenced, and could not yet be commenced.

Zunaid Moti is well known across SA for his apparent love for fancy cars and a luxurious lifestyle; something that would resonate with Boko’s sense of style and love for the finer things in life.

Their conglomerate family company Moti Group which has business interests across Africa has attracted attention for all the wrong reasons.

According to a report by Open Source Investigations (OSI) The Moti Group conglomerate has taken steps to expand into Zimbabwe, with the Motis visiting the country to discuss investment opportunities with senior members of the regime.

“Moti is just another fraudulent businessman that hypes up his companies to various governments, only to completely rip off the investors and the people themselves…people with money that promise milk and honey in investments, only to run away with the money that they get the moment they have the chance. Scammers that will look after their own well-being, while lying and lying to get what they want,” OSI reports, adding “The car-loving businessman has been engulfed in a string of ‘weird’ acquisitions …and the speed in which he changes ownership of his enterprises is truly astounding ÔÇô according to the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office, he owns more than 204 listed enterprises.”

While it remains unclear what type of relationship the UDC President Boko has with the Moti family, reports suggest any dealings with the Moti Group of companies may have to be thoroughly scrutinized if the opposition coalition is to attain power come October 2019.

If the OSI report is anything to go by, any government should pay close attention to people such as Zunaid Moti, who it says, are known to be involved in corruption cases because of their business dealings.

“Moti is a dangerous man ÔÇô one that will lie his pants off in order to get what he wants. And considering the amount of money that this man has either lost or squandered away, the Zimbabwean Government should really think twice before allowing him to invest in Zimbabwe.”

Another company linked to Abbas Aboo Baker Moti and Salim Bobat was in 2010 alleged to have been involved in the fraudulent transfer of 33 properties owned by the state owned Johannesburg Property Company (JPC).

According to SA media, “Salim Ahmed Bobat, a director of Zamien Investments, confirmed in that his companies had bought property but was unaware that the properties were previously owned by the Johannesburg municipality.”

Zimbabwean media has also alleged Zunaid Moti could have financed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rise to power to secure his business interests. The Moti Group’s operations in Zimbabwe have since Mnangagwa’s rise to power drawn media scrutiny. “Zunaid Moti himself is said to be especially close to former Zimbabwe Defense Force boss and current Deputy President Constantine Chiwenga…He also enjoys good relations with President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” SA’s Mail & Guarded (M&G) has reported. 

In South Africa, M&G has reported, Moti has been embroiled in scandal on more than one occasion, including: In 2008, his company, FinFuture, was denied a license to provide financial services because it failed to meet the “fit and proper” requirements: In 2009, Moti’s Abalengi group paid R1.5-billion to Investec to settle a bad debt. Investec was accused of fraudulently liquidating another firm to protect Abalengi’s investments: In 2010, the City of Johannesburg filed a civil suit for the restitution of 33 properties it claimed were fraudulently sold and then resold to two companies in which Moti was a director: In 2011, Moti and several associates were charged in relation to a violent attack on businessman Naeem Cassim. The charges were later dropped. Boko could not be reached for comment as his cellularphone was off line and he left early from Parliament on Friday.

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