Wife murderer goes scot-free on charge of fraud

A FORMER Mbombela municipal official who allegedly transferred nearly R200000 of taxpayers' money to his personal bank account has gone scot-free.

Now a cloud of suspicion and frustration is hanging over Mandla Mathebula's case.

But the municipality says Mathebula, who worked as an accountant in the debt collections department of the municipality, resigned before he could be hauled before an internal disciplinary hearing.

In January this year Mathebula, a lawyer, allegedly told a local businessman who owed the municipality R230000 in unpaid water and electricity bills to deposit an amount of R190000 into his personal account.

The authorities say Mathebula assured the businessman that his outstanding debt would be cancelled once he had transferred the money.

"But the businessman became suspicious and reported the matter to the municipality, police and his bank, First National Bank," municipal spokesperson Joseph Ngala said.

"We arranged with FNB to freeze Mathebula's account as soon as the money had been deposited so that he cannot access the money."

The money was later returned to the businessman's bank account.

The municipality says it was planning to haul Mathebula before a disciplinary hearing for fraud when he resigned.

"There is no way we could have charged him after he resigned, so he got away with it," Ngala said.

He said they had not reported the matter to the police because Mathebula had not accessed the money.

Mathebula, who is at present in custody for the murder of his wife's boyfriend, could not be reached for comment.

He has been found guilty of killing Bhekumuzi Vincent Nkuna in 2007 after finding him with his wife, Sibongile Gladys Mkhwanazi.

Mathebula is due to be sentenced for the crime on August 17.