Top mpumalanga officials in court

The corruption trial involving former Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation chief executive Ernest Khoza and the province's former director-general Stanley Soko resumes in the Nelspruit regional court today.

Magistrate Naomi Engelbrecht set the trial for two days, starting from today, so that four state witnesses could testify.

The trial, dating back to August 2003, involves a R30million contract that the provincial government, led then by premier Ndaweni Mahlangu, gave to communications company Rainbow Kwanda.

The company was linked to former City Press editor Vusi Mona, who now works in the Presidency.

The provincial government paid R3,6million to Rainbow Kwanda before any job was done as an advance payment to kick-start the project.

Rainbow Kwanda was appointed to promote Mpumalanga province as an investment destination.

Mona, also a former Rhema Church spokesperson, though mentioned in court by his controversial former university fellow student and colleague Moses Mashamaite, has denied any involvement.

Mashamaite told the Nelspruit regional court during his evidence in chief as a state witness that Mona co-owned the company. He has also confirmed that he was a fugitive from the law after skipping bail and escaping to the US. He only returned six years later.

He had been arrested for running a pyramid scheme and the state once showed him letters that he wrote to say Mona was not part of Rainbow Kwanda.

The letters also showed that Mona had resigned from Zan Moss Technologies in 2002, a year before the Rainbow Kwanda contract. Defence attorney Gezani Maluleke has written a scathing letter to a weekly newspaper after it suggested that Mona was involved in the Rainbow Kwanda saga.