Former top executive unable to attend trial

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Former Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation chief executive, Ernest Khosa, the co-accused with former Mpumalanga director-general, Stanley Soko, will not be in court in Nelspruit today as scheduled.

Sowetan has established that Khosa is sick and his doctors have reportedly ordered him to stay in- doors and barred him from travelling long distances or flying.

Khosa family spokesman, Robin Khosa, yesterday said: "I can confirm that Khosa will definitely not make it to court because his doctors have ordered him to rest.

"It looks like he has a recurring health problem because he was once admitted to hospital in 2004 while he was working in Mpumalanga.

"He was again recently admitted to a private hospital in Pretoria," he said.

He dismissed suggestions that these might be delaying tactics in the hope that the case would disappear.

"It is not delaying tactics, the man is sick and is scheduled to undergo an operation in a few days," he said.

Public relations company director, Kedebone Mashamaite of Rainbow Kwanda, was expected to continue giving evidence in the trial.

Rainbow Kwanda had been hired by the Mpumalanga government to boost the corporation's image.

Mashamaite is a key state witness who in the past had asked for a postponement of the trial.

He had told the court he was tired after being on his feet in the witness stand for a long period.

Mashamaite previously told the court that Soko and Khosa convinced the provincial government to pay R3,6million to Rainbow Kwanda before the company had provided any services.

He said that after the money was paid, the two then demanded R1million as payment for having convinced the government to pay.

Mashamaite also told the court that Soko and Khosa forced him to pay them the money in cash, so that the Scorpions would be unable to investigate them for corruption.

He said he only refused to continue paying the sums after realising that his company would no longer survive.

Khosa and Soko are charged with corruption, fraud and contravention of the Public Service Management Act as well as organised crime, dating back to 2004.

They have both pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Khosa and Soko are out on R50000 bail and R20000 bail, respectively.