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Legalbrief   |   your legal news hub Thursday 13 June 2024

SA siblings linked to massive Ghana bribery scandal

South African liquidators Cloete and Thomas Murray were murdered just as they had started to unearth evidence that siblings Rushil and Nishani Singh – with whom they spent their final hours – had allegedly built a multi-million dollar empire in Ghana on a series of lies and bribes. Legalbrief reports that Murray was shot dead, along with his son on a busy Johannesburg highway in broad daylight in March 2023. Murray was no stranger to controversy, having tackled some notorious characters and entities linked to state capture, such as Trillian and Bosasa. The police have not made any arrests or identified any suspects in the case. A News24 investigation spanning more than a year has revealed an expansive web of alleged corruption spun by the Singhs in Ghana, where they secured a handful of road and hospital construction contracts, worth at least $54.1m, and maintained favour by paying at least $2.7m in bribes to influential politicians in that country. The contracts, awarded between 2015 and 2019, were for the rehabilitation and construction of more than 100km of roads and storm drains, as well as construction work on several hospitals as a subcontractor. Their business, Ghana Infrastructure Company (GIC), was paid the equivalent of $18.4m for work completed between September 2017 and November 2022.

The value of the contracts and payments due for work already completed were used to secure loans worth more than $29.7m from Investec between 2016 and 2021, and a $1.1m overdraft for the company account from Standard Bank. News24 notes that the Singhs used the loans from Investec meant for construction work in Ghana to fund an extravagant lifestyle, including spending more than $6.5m on luxury cars and a Pretoria mansion. Some of the funds secured from Investec was used for the Ghanaian business, but it was also either squirelled away in personal bank accounts or used to meet some loan repayments, monthly insurance payments for the luxury cars, and countless millions spent on extensive international travels by the Singhs and a Ghanaian politician.

News24 has confirmed the identity of two key individuals who worked with the Singhs in Ghana – former Deputy Roads Minister Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, who was until 2023 part of the ruling New Patriotic Party. While it is suspected that more money flowed to Aduomi, records confirm 390 000 Ghanaian cedis (about $53 000) was paid directly to his bank account from the Singhs' company in that country, GIC. The Singhs' closest associate was former Minister and former National Democratic Party parliamentary leader and MP Iddrisu Haruna. Here, GIC's relationship stretches back to at least 2015, when money started flowing to causes linked to Haruna. The Singhs, through GIC, also paid millions of rands in further payments to their local representative, Asumah Dokurugu, money that was earmarked for Haruna and other as yet unidentified officials. The Singhs refused to answer questions about the scandal. 'We have been instructed to confirm that our clients will not be making any comments or responding to any communication from your offices,' said Ilyas Mayet, from Hajibey Bhyat Mayet & Stein.