more intrigue in thuso trial

Simon Nare

Simon Nare

Two new twists emerged in the suspended Lesedi FM presenter Thuso Motaung's fraud case in the Johannesburg commercial crimes court yesterday.

Firstly, a state witness told the court that Motaung and his wife did not owe the SABC any money.

He said it was JR Business Analysts, owned by the Motaungs' business associate Joshua Ramme, that ought to pay the SABC and not Motaung.

He said the contract was between the two companies.

Secondly, the court issued a warrant of arrest for suspended programme manager Mohlalefi "Wire" Khoali when he failed to appear in court.

Khoali is a state witness in the trial. Another witness, suspended station manager Pula Pula Mothibi, was ordered to go home and come back tomorrow.

Prosecutor Pierre Tickner said Khoali was informed of his court appearance in December.

"He chose to ignore the summons, that's why the magistrate has issued a warrant of arrest," he said.

Last week Chomane Chomane, regarded as a key witness in the case, was dramatically dumped after spending the week in the court corridors waiting to take the stand.

In the stand yesterday was Costa Macropolus, the distributor of Power Mix, the product at the centre of the trial.

He testified that Motaung and his wife did not owe the SABC "a dime".

Rather it was Ramme who had a contract with the broadcaster to promote immune booster Power Mix.

The agreement states that the broadcaster would be paid R1 for each packet sold, and that the money would be channelled to social responsibility programmes.

Macropolus presented invoices and proof of payment to the Thuso Family Trust and Ramme's business.

Macropolus paid about R4million to Motaung's trust, according to invoices presented in court.

The Motaungs and Ramme were arrested in 2006 for allegedly defrauding the SABC of R32million.

During crossexamination by Motaung's lawyer, Advocate Mike Hellens, Macropolus admitted that he once called the flamboyant presenter to thank him since business was booming.

But he denied he had advised Motaung to decide who to channel the money to.

He maintained that Motaung was part of meetings to conclude agreements with Ramme for the promotion of the product.

The trial continues today.