Sentencing of playwright Msomi postponed due to his deteriorating health

Welcome Msomi .
Welcome Msomi .
Image: Antonio Muchave

The sentencing of the ailing playwright Welcome Msomi, who suffered a stroke early this month, was postponed to February due to his poor health. The 76-year-old was found guilty of theft and fraud last month for stealing R8m from the Living Legends Legacy Programme trust account (LLLP).

Magistrate Janse van Vuuren of the Palm Ridge magistrate's court postponed the sentencing to February 12 2020. Four weeks ago Msomi, who was not present in court during proceedings on Thursday, was left paralysed after a stroke. He was admitted at St Augustine Hospital in Berea, Durban.

Earlier on Thursday, his defence presented the court with a medical certificate, and further asked the court to reduce his bail money from R200,000 to R120,000, which was approved by the court. The defence argued that the money will be used by the family for Msomi’s medical expenses.

Msomi was found guilty on 61 counts of theft in October following a case of theft that LLLP trustees opened after discovering that millions of rands were stolen from the bank account. The transactions occurred between September 18 and October 24 in 2018. His health started suffering in July and he was rushed to the same hospital after he suffered a diabetic coma.

Msomi was arrested by the Hawks in Durban in March this year. Court papers stated that Msomi transferred the money from the FNB trust account to his own personal account on September 18, the day the money was transferred into the trust account from the department of arts and culture.

He allegedly went on a 19-day withdrawal spree that ranged from a mere R40 to R350,000 at a time. The disappearance of the funds was discovered in January by acting chairperson of LLLP, Letta Mbulu, who opened a case of fraud at Bramley police station outside Alexandra in Johannesburg.

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