CONTROVERSIAL property mogul Frank Buyanga, who has close links with South African President Jacob Zuma and controversial African National Congress (ANC) bigwig Fana Hlongwane, survived being named in the damning State Capture report but those close the case say he is not yet off the hook.
Insiders claim that Buyanga who was accused of fraudulently seizing about 500 immovable properties in Harare in an opaque loan scheme, through Hlongwane reportedly has close links with Zuma and the controversial ANC bigwig.
Buyanga, who was the director of Hamilton Property Holdings until recently was allegedly part of Zuma’s entourage when he visited Russia and China last year.
The business mogul had been using his political connections to spread his business tentacles across southern Africa.
Last week, the report, compiled by former public protector Thuli Madonsela, called for remedial action – that a judicial commission of inquiry be established and its work completed in six months.
The reports named a few people who are close to Zuma including Hlongwane who is close to Buyanga. Sources claimed this week that Buyanga played a hand in South Africa’s withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Nick Kaufman, Buyanga’s lawyer, the British-born Israeli lawyer specialising in international criminal law and international arbitration, was in South Africa a few years ago when he advised African countries to leave the ICC. South Africa recently withdrew from the ICC.
Kaufman who represented Buyanga, when he was arrested by Interpol, was a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and, subsequently, at the International Criminal Court.
The flashy businessman was accused of cheating 500 homeowners out of their properties through a loan scheme where the borrower would sign an agreement of sale and repay the principal loan and interest within three months.
Efforts to get comment from Zuma’s office this week on the nature of relations between the president and Buyanga were not successful.
Hlongwane had since 2006 been under probe by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office in connection with alleged kickbacks in South Africa’s multibillion-rand arms deal.
His name has become synonymous with a high-flying lifestyle in Johannesburg’s northern suburbs and he also goes by the name “Styles” because of his taste for the finer things in life. – ZimsInSA.com reporter