A prominent businessman was sentenced to 16 years imprisonment by the Polokwane magistrate's court yesterday for fraud and money laundering.

Bolobedu tycoon Renky Daniel Suname of Mashao Air-conditioning Installation, was arrested last year after he was linked to the fraudulent transfer of R4,5million into his personal bank account.

The money transfer was made from the Capricorn district municipality bank account in Polokwane.

Suname, 28, had allegedly worked in cahoots with his friend and homeboy Phetole Mamorobela to defraud the municipality.

Mamorobela worked in the finance section of the municipality at the time.

Municipality spokesperson Moffat Senyatsi said yesterday that part of Mamorobela's duties were to transfer money to companies that had done business with the municipality.

Senyatsi said Suname was a service provider to the municipality but Mamorobela ostensibly transferred the money into his account for reasons known only to him.

He said the fraud was discovered in February and Mamorobela was dismissed the same month after a series of disciplinary hearings.

Suname and Mamorobela were later arrested with their accomplice, Malesela Ledwaba, a Polokwane businessman, after the police investigations connected them to the scam.

Limpopo police spokesperson Superintendent Mohale Ramatseba said Suname was sentenced to eight years for fraud and another eight years for money laundering.

He said six years of the sentence was suspended, which translated to 10 years effectively in jail.

During mitigation of sentence Suname claimed he had two houses in Polokwane for which he was paying off R12000 and R11500, respectively, a Mercedes-Benz, BMW X5 and a 4x4 bakkie on which he also still owed money.

He said he had been awarded a R100million contract in Eastern Cape and had a R500000 loan with a local bank to honour.

He pleaded with the magistrate, Sanny Reynolds, to give him a lenient sentence.

Mamorobela and Ledwaba had pleaded not guilty in the case and their sentence was postponed to February 17 and 18 2010.