Tender fraud trial told of R3,6m deal

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

The high-profile trial of former chief executive officer of the Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation Ernest Khoza and its former director Stanley Soko entered its third day yesterday after resuming on Monday in the Nelspruit regional court.

The two face charges of fraud, corruption and money laundering.

Two state witnesses have testified since Monday, with David Sekgobela, a former chief financial officer in the office of the premier, claiming not to have been aware of a R3,6million transaction paid for the provincial government to Rainbow Kwanda Communications.

The money was an advance to the firm to start operating after winning a R30million contract.

The company, co-owned by former City Press editor Vusi Mona and Moses Mashamaite, was appointed to market the province to attract investors and tourists.

Sekgobela told the court that he was not aware that Rainbow Kwanda had financial problems.

"There were no discussions with me regarding such payments," Sekgobela said.

Another witness, state law adviser Marinus Venter, contradicted Sekgobela by saying that the payment was made after discussions with Sekgobela and a Mr Simon, a fellow law adviser.

Venter also said Sekgobela had attended almost all the meetings where Rainbow Kwanda's upfront payments were discussed.

Defence lawyer Gezani Maluleke said the state appeared to have diverted from the charges and was focusing on the violations of the Public Finance Management Act.