The empire of flamboyant multimillionaire and businessman Sam “Mshengu” Chabalala seems to be crumbling as some of his assets are expected to be auctioned this week.
The news comes amid allegations that the fugitive might have skipped the country back to Zimbabwe to escape prosecution on charges of corruption, illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition, illegal entry, remaining within SA and providing false information to be granted entry.
Authorities discovered that Chabalala of Sam Holdings disappeared in March after he failed to appear in court for one of the two cases that are pending against him.
Chabalala rose to prominence when he flouted his wealth last year when he took a 72-car convoy to the Durban July.
Pictures and videos of his convoy of expensive cars with most of them having personalised registration plates with his name “Sam” went viral on social media, setting tongues wagging.
People believed to have links with businessman Sam “Mshengu” Chabalala have had their own run-ins with the law, with one of them attempting to get an …
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Hawks spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi yesterday told Sowetan the elite investigating unit wanted to first ascertain Mshengu’s real identity so that he could be “flagged by Interpol”.
“There’s a mutual legal assistance that has been formulated and sent to Zimbabwe which is done through the department of justice and the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority). We know he is originally from Zimbabwe. So this will help us confirm his identity, then we would be able to circulate [his true identity] in the country and outside of the country,” Mulaudzi said.
“We cannot rule out the possibility that he could be back in Zimbabwe.”
Mulaudzi said once Mshengu’s real identity is confirmed, the help of Interpol will be sought to track him down.
NPA Mpumalanga spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said: “The NPA has started the process of the mutual legal assistance. It will depend on how quick the facilitation is from the other departments [involved].”
Sowetan can reveal that Chabalala’s once blooming trucking business empire has since crumbled as more of his movable assets are set to go under the hammer this week while several immovable properties in Bethal, Mpumalanga, will also be auctioned soon.
Chabalala disappeared while on R500,000 bail and allegedly wrote a suicide note to his wife, claiming he was going to throw himself into the crocodile-infested Hluhluwe River in KwaZulu-Natal.
There is also a case of corruption and bribery in which he was initially granted
R200,000 bail for attempting to bribe a department of home affairs official last year.
There are now two warrants of arrest for him after he failed to appear in court for both cases.
Scania trucks branded Sam Holdings and two bakkies are lined up for an auction between Wednesday and Thursday. Vans Auction’s Chanél Tame confirmed to Sowetan that seven trucks and two Mahindra bakkies would be auctioned.
Tame couldn’t, however, provide details of Chabalala’s creditors behind the auction or how much they had to recoup.
The same auction house is making preparations to auction the two properties.
The auction house asked the Goven Mbeki local municipality to provide the rates and taxes of the properties.
Sowetan has learnt that one of the properties had a municipal evaluation of about R1.8m. It owes the municipality around R60,000 in unpaid municipal rates and taxes.-Sowetan