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officials' corruption trial put on hold

By unknown | Jun 26, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The corruption trial of former Mpumalanga director-general Stanley Soko and former Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation (MEEC) chief executive officer Ernest Khoza has been put on hold for three months.

The two appeared in the Nelspruit regional court yesterday and on Tuesday on charges of fraud, corruption and contravening the Public Finance Management Act.

The charges date back to 2003 when the provincial government paid a R3,6million advance to Rainbow Kwanda Communications before doing any work.

The company had won a R30million communications tender to profile the province in a favourable I way that would attract investors and tourists.

Apparently, the company never had the capital to start the work.

Immediately after Moses Mashamaite had finished giving evidence for the state yesterday, the court postponed the matter to September 30 to call for more witnesses. It is apparent from the hearing in the past two days that former premier Ndaweni Mahlangu and Joy Letlonkane, the then director of communications in Mpumalanga, might be subpoenaed to give evidence at a later stage.

Mashamaite and former City Press editor Vusi Mona co-owned Rainbow Kwanda Communications. The state might not be able to conclude its case without evidence from Mona, who has so far shown no interest in the case.

Mashamaite told the court that he, Mona, Soko and Khoza had met at Khoza's home in Pretoria on a specific day when Soko and Khoza demanded a bribe of R1million each.

Defence counsel Gys Rautenbach put it to Mashamaite that Khoza would deny that such a meeting ever took place because none of the three men had signed the gate register as proof that they had entered his home on that particular day.

Rautenbach also produced the gate register indicating which people had visited Khoza's home, but none of the three had signed it on the day in question.


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