MPUMALANGA’S sacked deputy speaker, Cynthia Maropeng, and two senior suspended legislature officials had their passports confiscated on Friday morning after being arrested on nine cases of fraud and theft in Nelspruit, Justin Arenstein
The visibly surprised suspects were granted R5000 bail each by magistrate Willie Wilkens at a hastily convened court hearing shortly afterwards, but were ordered to surrender their passports before being released.
They were also ordered not to intimidate 18 state witnesses who previously testified before the Ngobeni commission and who are assisting police with their investigation into the misappropriation of an estimated R967000.
Wilkens did not ask the three to plead and ordered them re-appear in court again on August 20 after police complete their investigation into the theft from a secret legislature account with Trust Bank.
The theft was first revealed by the Ngobeni commission, which traced leads indicating that Maropeng (36) had misused money allocated for ANC constituency offices.
Maropeng told African Eye News Service immediately after her court appearance that she, legislature finance director, Nicholas “Jomo” Siboza (42), and former legislature secretary, Wilson Ngwenya (43), were arrested by the commercial crime unit during a meeting on Friday morning.
“It was very unexpected. We were invited to a meeting with the unit at 8am on Friday morning but were then made to wait for a while before they said they were arresting us,” she said.