Icasa chair Ruben Mohlaloga to go after his conviction

Icasa chairman Rubben Mohlaloga.
Icasa chairman Rubben Mohlaloga.

The portfolio committee on communications has ordered that convicted Icasa chair Rubben Mohlaloga be removed from his position following his sentence to a prison term.

Mohlaloga was last month sentenced to an effective 20 years behind bars by the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Pretoria, for money-laundering and fraud linked to a R6m Land Bank scam.

"Having deliberated on the issue of Icasa, the committee emphasises that the chairperson should be removed and also as a council member of Icasa, as it is in the act of Icasa that a person who is found guilty cannot hold the position of a councillor," said chairperson of the committee Hlengiwe Mkhize.

Mohlaloga, a former ANC MP, along with former acting head of the Land Bank Philemon Mohlahlane and attorney Dinga Rammy Nkwashu, had been accused of defrauding the Land Bank to the tune of R6m at the time when he was chairperson of parliament's portfolio committee on agriculture.

The court found that this money was transferred from Agri-BEE, a broad-based BEE framework intended to support black South Africans to participate in the agricultural sector, to Dingwako Farming Projects.

Sowetan's sister publication BusinessLIVE reported last month that the court had accepted the prosecution's case that, contrary to what the application stated, the money was never used to benefit farm workers or upcoming farmers, but was spent on car payments and the purchase of two BMWs for Mohlaloga, among other things.

The court found that this was done without following due processes and that Mohlahlane instructed the fund manager at Agri-BEE to authorise the payment without supporting documents.

"The committee took this decision in March 2018, but allowed Mr Mohlaloga an opportunity to make representations on why he should not be removed, wherein he had indicated that he would be launching an appeal to his conviction," said Mkhize.

In May 2018, the portfolio committee recommended that he be suspended, pending the finalisation of his case.

The Icasa Act prohibits anyone convicted of fraud from serving as a councillor of the communications industry regulator.

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