Witness spills itin court

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

State witnesses Meshack Sipho Malaza finished giving his evidence-in-chief yesterday in the corruption trial of former Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation chief executive officer Ernest Khoza and the province's former director-general Stanley Soko.

Malaza told the Nelspruit regional court yesterday about meetings between former Scorpions prosecutor Conwell Chavhunga, Moses Mashamaite and himself.

He testified that the Mpumalanga government paid R3,6million to Rainbow Kwanda Communications, a company that had won a contract to promote the province to attract tourists and investors in 2003.

Malaza, former City Press editor Vusi Mona and Mashamaite were also part of Rainbow Kwanda Communications.

He said Mashamaite was the one who introduced him to Khoza, who is accused number one, and that he was told about money changing hands between Khoza and Mashamaite.

He said at one stage Mashamaite showed him a lot of hard cash in a brown envelope, which he said was intended for Khoza, whom they met near Menlyn in eastern Tshwane.

Malaza said he and Mashamaite were driving from KwaNdebele when the latter received a call from his personal assistant, informing him that the Scorpions were looking for them in their office.

He said they made themselves available but Chavhunga later secured a meeting with them in his office in Silverton, Pretoria.

"We were about to knock at the door when he [Chavhunga] approached us from behind."

Malaza said Chavhunga said: "Gentlemen, in this office I'm the cleaner, sweeper, prosecutor, guard, secretary and judge all at once. My job is to send people like you, who defraud the government, to jail for at least 15 years."

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

The hearing continues today.