Sick state witness delays graft trial

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The corruption trial of former Mpumalanga director-general Stanley Soko and his co-accused Ernest Khoza, former chief executive of Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation, will resume in January next year.

The two were expected to appear in the Nelspruit regional court this week, but the court was forced to postpone the matter until January 24 after receiving information that Khoza was ill.

The two men are facing charges of fraud, corruption and contravening the Finance Management Regulatory Act. They have pleaded not guilty.

During their appearance in August the main state witness, Moses Mashamaite, asked the court to postpone the matter, saying he was too exhausted and could no longer concentrate during cross-examination by the defence lawyers.

Khoza yesterday declined to discuss his condition but a relative, Robinson Khoza, said that he was a sick man.

"He has been in and out of a private hospital in Pretoria, but the family is not ready to divulge his illness."

In previous hearings, the court heard how the provincial government was allegedly swindled out of R3,6million by Rainbow Kwanda Communications, a media company that was appointed to market the province.