Exclusive Content:

Learner suspended for throwing mud at teacher

Staff Reporter The Free State Department of Education has suspended...

Hitchhiker raped and robbed

Staff Reporter Police in are investigating a case of rape...

Mangaung speaker vows not to be silenced by charges

Mangaung council speaker Stefani Lockman-Naidoo has vowed not to...

Ex-agriculture bosses accused of corruption seek services of state attorney

Staff Reporter

The Bloemfontein Regional Court has given two of the people accused of defrauding the Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development of about R244 million until early November to sort out their legal representation.

Former director for agrarian reform Mahlomola Mofokeng, 60 and former head of department Mbana Peter Thabethe, 55, told the court they wanted to explore the possibility of being represented by a state attorney because they were under the employ of the government when the alleged crimes were committed.

The court agreed to the request and gave the pair until November 8 to sort their legal issues and furnish it with the details the following day.

“Only Mofokeng and Thabethe are expected in court on that day,” said National Prosecuting Authority regional spokesperson Phaladi Shuping after the case was postponed.

“It was found to be unfair and costly for the other five accused to come to court on that day while their legal representation is already in place.

“They will only come to court on November 30 when the case is expected to be transferred to the High Court.”

The state says it has already secured a High Court date and the pre-trial conference is expected to take place on December 9.

Mofokeng and Thabethe are jointly charged with former Free State agriculture chief finance officer Sylvia Dlamini, 49, businesswoman Malikomo Mohapi, 55, and Superior Quality Trading, which trades as Rekgonne Community Projects.

The other co-accused persons are the provincial agriculture department’s chief finance officer Lerato Mngomezulu, 39, director for facilities management Disebo Masiteng, 59, and chief director for corporate services Thomas Ndumo, 53.

The charges they face include forgery, uttering, fraud, money laundering, corruption and contravening the Black Broad Based Empowerment Act.

They face up to 58 counts.

According to the state, the whole case hinges around Dhlamini — who is now the deputy director general in the Free State Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs — and Mohapi who were initially arrested in July by the Hawks after they unearthed an alleged elaborate fraudulent scheme.

The two women allegedly hatched a plan to channel large sums of money from the provincial agriculture department using Rekgonne Community Projects, owned by Mohapi, as a conduit.

Around June 2014, Rekgonne Community Projects entered into an agreement with the Free State Department of Agriculture to implement all projects on behalf of the department for two years.

Between 2012 and 2016, the department is said to have paid about R244 million to the company.

During that period, Dhlamini, who was the department’s CFO, is said to have received about R267 000 from Rekgonne Community Projects as gratuity and the money was deposited into her Nedbank account disguised as different types of refunds and other payments.

The misleading descriptions, according to the state, include “Loan repayment, TelkomSA, Photocopy, Macufe sponsor”.

These descriptions were traced back to Rekgonne Community Projects which made the payments.

The alleged crime was uncovered during investigations into the much-publicised Estina Dairy case.

The matter is however not part of the Estina Dairy scandal which has since been struck off the court roll.

It was discovered that there were irregularities in the financial flow analysis of Dhlamini’s bank account, prompting the authorities to conduct a lifestyle audit on her.

As the CFO, Dhlamini was not supposed to receive presents from a company doing business with her department and, further to that, she never disclosed this to her employer.

The other five individuals were part of the Bid Evaluation Committee (BEC) and are alleged to have granted a contract to Rekgonne Community Projects without following set procedure.

It is not clear if they benefited financially.

The state is arguing that members of the BEC have a fiduciary duty to evaluate documents submitted by all bidders and to make sure that they comply with set specifications.

Rekgonne Community Projects is said to have failed to comply with the specifications by submitting documents that were not certified as well as a forged Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment verification certificate.

Thabethe, as the HOD at that time, is also accused of failing to ensure that the Public Finance Management Act was followed in contracting the company as well as in the transactions that followed.

Latest

Letsoha-Mathae takes over as Free State premier

MAQUEEN Letsoha-Mathae has been elected as premier of the...

Mine worker sentenced for supplying goods to zama zamas

A WORKER at a Free State gold mine has...

Man gets life sentence for raping homeless woman

A 32-YEAR-OLD man will spend the rest of his...

South Africa votes in ‘watershed’ election

SOUTH Africans voted on Wednesday in what may be...

Newsletter

spot_img

Don't miss

Letsoha-Mathae takes over as Free State premier

MAQUEEN Letsoha-Mathae has been elected as premier of the...

Mine worker sentenced for supplying goods to zama zamas

A WORKER at a Free State gold mine has...

Man gets life sentence for raping homeless woman

A 32-YEAR-OLD man will spend the rest of his...

South Africa votes in ‘watershed’ election

SOUTH Africans voted on Wednesday in what may be...

Active citizenship needed to unlock South Africa’s potential

I know that there is great hype around the...
spot_imgspot_img

Letsoha-Mathae takes over as Free State premier

MAQUEEN Letsoha-Mathae has been elected as premier of the Free State province, replacing Mxolisi Dukwana who had only been in the office for a...

Mine worker sentenced for supplying goods to zama zamas

A WORKER at a Free State gold mine has been sentenced for supplying goods to illegal miners. Domingos Julius Macucule, employed as a rock drill...

Man gets life sentence for raping homeless woman

A 32-YEAR-OLD man will spend the rest of his life behind bars for raping a homeless woman in northern Free State town of Sasolburg. Thabo...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here