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Non-availability of Afrikaans interpreter delays Koko’s Kusile corruption case

Magistrate Stanley Jacobs wants to clarify issues with investigating officer

Isaac Mahlangu Senior reporter
Former Eskom boss Matshela Koko and other accused, including his wife Mosima and two stepdaughters Koketso Aren and Thato Choma, speak to their legal representatives during an adjournment in the Middelburg specialised commercial crimes court on Tuesday.
Former Eskom boss Matshela Koko and other accused, including his wife Mosima and two stepdaughters Koketso Aren and Thato Choma, speak to their legal representatives during an adjournment in the Middelburg specialised commercial crimes court on Tuesday.
Image: Isaac Mahlangu

The R2.2bn Kusile corruption matter allegedly involving former Eskom acting CEO Matshela Koko was hit by a delay on Tuesday due to the non-availability of an Afrikaans interpreter.

The trial is due to resume on Thursday.

It was not a smooth start to the interlocutory proceedings as defence lawyers had initially asked for a brief adjournment because they were not aware a witness would take the stand.

The court was expected to rule on unreasonable delay in the trial in terms of the Criminal Procedure Act. However, after magistrate Stanley Jacobs indicated an investigating officer was due to testify, defence lawyers objected and asked for a short adjournment.

It emerged the state had not informed the defence lawyers that the court sought clarity from the investigating officer before the ruling on unreasonable delay.

Jacobs said there were five issues he sought to clarify with the investigating officer before ruling on the matter.

Defence lawyers protested and asked for an adjournment to take instruction from their clients. They agreed to allow the matter to proceed despite raising issues about how the right to a fair trial may be prejudiced.

Another problem then ensued as there was no available interpreter for the investigating officer, who is Afrikaans-speaking.

Jacobs adjourned proceedings in a bid to swop interpreters with another court.

Koko, 53, was charged in October last year with three counts of corruption, one of fraud and another of money laundering.

He was charged with his wife Mosima and two stepdaughters, Koketso Aren and Thato Choma.

Prosecutors previously said Koko was central to the case, the “puppet master in a scheme which benefited him and his family”, allegedly scoring them millions of rand and luxury overseas holidays.

Other accused include Frans Sithole, Thabo Mokwena, Johannes Coetzee, Watson Seswai, Sunil Vip, Markus Bruegmann, Gopal Kambi and business owner Lese’tsa Johannes Mutchinya.

This is a developing story.

TimesLIVE

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