Advocate faces 12 charges

Pumza Fihlani

Pumza Fihlani

A senior Scorpions advocate, Portia Kgantsi, allegedly received R9000 from two awaiting trial prisoners in exchange for validating their passports.

This is one of 12 charges Kgantsi, 39, faces after charges were centralised at the Randburg magistrates' court yesterday.

Kgantsi was arrested in October when she was found with R40000 that she allegedly received from two awaiting-trial prisoners.

She had allegedly demanded R315000 from two Nigerian nationals, alleged to have been involved in a 419 fraud scam and promised them that she would "make the matter go away ".

She was on the team of prosecutors handling the men's case.

Kgantsi faces seven counts of corruption, fraud, extortion, attempted theft, attempting to defeat the ends of justice and providing false information to the court during a bail application.

The new charges include an allegation that Kgantsi approached two other detainees and told them that she would have the charges withdrawn if they each gave her R10 000.

She has been in custody since September 28. She was refused bail on October 9 after she falsely claimed in an affidavit that she did not have a previous conviction. She also handed in her expired passport and kept her valid one.

Prison seems to have taken a toll on Kgantsi. Yesterday in court she was a shadow of her former, bold and confident self.

Wearing a black and white check outfit, Kgantsi looked down throughout the proceedings, looking up only when magistrate George Andrews spoke to her.

Andrews asked her if she would seek legal representation and she meekly replied: "I will be using Mr Klass. He will be representing me Your Worship."

She will apply for bail again next week. Her trial was set for April 16 to May 4 in the Johannesburg high court. The prosecution will call 16 witnesses to testify against her.