Judge calls her 'apalling witness'

HARSH: Judge Ezra Goldstein. Pic. Mark Wessels. © Sunday Times.
HARSH: Judge Ezra Goldstein. Pic. Mark Wessels. © Sunday Times.

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

In finding a former senior prosecutor of the elite Scorpions guilty of corruption yesterday, Judge Ezra Goldstein described her as an "appalling witness".

Johannesburg high court Judge Goldstein convicted Portia Kgantsi, 39, of five counts of fraud and corruption.

Kgantsi, who was attached to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), had also faced a string of charges which included extortion, attempted theft, attempting to defeat the ends of justice and providing false information.

Charges against her centred around what the state described as a corrupt relationship between her and two Nigerian fraudsters, John Afolabi and Dijbril Mohamadou. She had demanded money from the Nigerians with the promise of making a case against them disappear.

"In our view, Kgantsi was an appalling witness, evasive, talkative and brazen. It will be recalled that Mohamadou described her as a demigod. This description as well as the conduct he ascribed to her appear to us substantially consistent with the personality of the accused we observed in the witness box," Goldstein said.

Kgantsi was arrested on September 28 last year after Afolabi and Mohamadou set a trap with Kgantsi's colleagues in the NPA. She had come to collect R40000, some of its notes had been marked.

Ten cops from the NPA had been waiting for her outside the Sandton police station and arrested her after she collected the money.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit, a wing of the Scorpions, yesterday applied for a confiscation order to attach her property.

The application related to her failure to disclose that she had a previous conviction for theft of a dress before she joined the NPA in 1991.

The case was postponed to tomorrow after the defence advocate Johan Pretorius asked to be allowed to call a probation officer to testify in mitigation of sentence.