Mkhwebane: ‘Sedgars’ R300k payment to Mbalula not a loan’

PRETORIA – The Public Protector has found that former Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula accepted R300,000 from sporting goods supplier Sedgars out of desperation but rejects his claim that it was a loan.Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane released a report on Wednesday which confirmed that Sedgars bankrolled part of Mbalula’s 2016 family holiday to Dubai.At the time, Mbalula, who is now head of the African National Congress (ANC)’s election office, denied allegations of wrongdoing, saying that he paid for the R680,000 trip out of his own pocket.Neither Mbalula nor Sedgars have responded to a request for comment.Mbalula has provided a highly improbable version of events to the Public Protector, however, it appears to have been for the most part accepted by Mkhwebane.The former minister claims that his Dubai holiday was arranged through a travel agent by a Mr Siweya out of his own volition and he never asked for the holiday.Mbalula further claims he never knew how much the entire trip had cost until two months later when the travel agent came asking for payment.Mkhwebane says Mbalula found himself unable to pay the funds and out of apparent desperation approached Yusuf Dockrat of Sedgars Sports for R300,000.The advocate rejects the claim it was a loan because R275,000 of it was paid back only after Eyewitness News broke the story.Mbalula paid R150,000 in cash to the travel agent.The matter has been referred to the authorities for possible corruption and money laundering investigations.(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)Source: EWN

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