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it's work as normal for 'crooked' Commissioner

By unknown | Feb 06, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Alex Matlala

Alex Matlala

The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights will not suspend Limpopo Lands Claim Commission regional head Mashile Mokono until charges have been properly prepared against him.

The commission said yesterday it was still waiting for the finalisation of a charge sheet - now in the hands of the National Prosecuting Authority's investigating wing (Scorpions) - before a decision is taken.

"Once the charge sheet is finalised, its copy would be forwarded to the Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, Lulama Xingwana.

"The minister would then be expected to take a decision which would then dictate Mokono's future," the commission's communication manager, Pulane Molefe, said yesterday.

Until then, Mokono would continue working as the regional commissioner for the Limpopo Land Claims Commission, Molefe said.

Mokono was arrested on December 13 last year following a four-year undercover investigation by the Scorpions.

His arrest followed allegations that he was involved in multiple fraud and perjury amounting to R2,5 million. Mokono was allegedly behind the fraudulent creation of bogus land claimants in the tiny village of Dwarrsloop in Bushbuckridge, near Nelspruit.

It is alleged Mokono and his associates had inflated a R2,5 million cash compensation settlement for villagers who had been forced to relocate from their ancestral land in 1981.

The Scorpions investigators claimed that the bogus claimants were fraudulent.

The bogus claimants' money was allegedly channelled to Mokono and his suspected network of accomplices for personal gain.

Upon investigation, three other officials were also arrested on related charges and appeared in court with Mokono.

During his appearance in the Nelspruit regional court in December, Mokono was granted R7000 bail. His bail conditions prohibited him from making any contact with witnesses.

Mokono is the second regional land claims commissioner to be implicated in corruption in recent years.

Mpumalanga commissioner Nceba Ngana was fired in 2004 after a forensic audit showed that he had colluded with property speculators to fraudulently inflate the value of land earmarked for purchase by the state.

Philimon Mohlahlane, another former Limpopo land reform specialist, was also sacked as chief executive of the Land Bank in December on allegations of mismanagement and possible corruption.


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