High-profile corruption trial postponed again

CROWD SUPPORT: Supporters of Stanley Khoza demonstrate outside the Nelspruit court. They carried a poster of Khoza and one of their placards criticised Premier Thabang Makwetla. Pic. Riot Hlatshwayo. 30/09/08. © Sowetan.
CROWD SUPPORT: Supporters of Stanley Khoza demonstrate outside the Nelspruit court. They carried a poster of Khoza and one of their placards criticised Premier Thabang Makwetla. Pic. Riot Hlatshwayo. 30/09/08. © Sowetan.

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The state's failure to supply evidence transcripts to the defence has resulted in yet another postponement of a high-profile corruption trial.

Former Mpumalanga director-general Stanley Soko and former Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation (MEEC) chief executive Ernest Khoza appeared briefly before a packed Nelspruit regional court yesterday and the matter has now been scheduled to continue on December 8.

A member of the defence team, Giyani-based attorney Gezani Maluleke, told Sowetan that the state's failure to supply the transcripts of previously heard evidence were "delaying tactics" that were not helping his clients.

Before court started, Khoza, from the dock, thanked his supporters who had filled the court to capacity.

"Your undivided support is great. We shall go into this trial with the clear conscience that we have your backbone support."

Meanwhile, outside the court other supporters displayed placards attacking Mpumalanga Premier Thabang Makwetla.

"Makwetla, who's relatives got loans from MEEC? Stop mixing politics with justice," one of the placards read.

The supporters arrived in the middle of the night from the region where Khoza hails - and also from Pretoria where he now lives.

They brought the streets of Nelspruit to a standstill while beating their traditional drums.

Khoza and Soko are facing charges of fraud, corruption and contravening the Public Finance Management Act.

The charges date back to 2003 when the provincial government "paid a R3,6million advance" to Rainbow Kwanda Communications. Apparently it never had the capital to start the work.

X