Fraudster accuses Scorpions lawyer

Khanyisile Nkosi

Khanyisile Nkosi

A convicted fraudster testifying against senior Scorpions advocate Portia Kgantsi has told how he went to jail to support his gravely ill friend and co-accused.

An emotional Dijbril Issa Mohamedou told the Johannesburg high court on Friday that he took the decision to "go down" with Oreyein John Afolobi after he begged him to do so.

Mohamedou is the key state witness in the marathon trial of Kgantsi, who was arrested in September for corruption.

The state alleges Kgantsi solicited a bribe of more than R40000 from the men, both Nigerian nationals, in exchange for their freedom.

She has pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption, fraud, attempted theft, defeating the ends of justice and lying about her previous conviction.

Kgantsi was part of the Scorpions operation that arrested Afolobi on August 17 last year and charged him with money laundering and fraud.

Acting on Kgantsi's advice, the two men later instructed their attorney to negotiate a plea bargain and ended up getting a lesser sentence, Mohamedou said. Afolobi later died in custody.

Advocate Johan Pretorius, for Kgantsi, put it to Mohamedou that he could not deny that Afolobi and Kgantsi were friends, and that Kgantsi might have accepted money from Afolobi as a "token of their friendship".

On allegations that Mohamedou and Afolobi rented a car for Kgantsi, Pretorius said his client intended to settle the account, but was arrested before she could do so. The trial continues.