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02 Sep 2008 13:57
Former African National Congress MP Mnyamezeli Booi is to go on trial in the Cape Town Regional Court in February next year, charged with fraud relating to Parliament’s Travelgate scam.
Magistrate Michelle Adams postponed the matter on Tuesday to December 12. His defence attorney, Mario Wilker, would on that date inform the court about any problems encountered in the preparation of his defence.
Adams set the trial date for February 9 2009, and the case is set down to run until February 27.
Booi’s trial was to have started on September 1, but he launched an application for a postponement.
It was opposed by Travelgate prosecutor Jannie van Vuuren, SC.
After he and senior counsel Jan Heunis, representing Booi, presented lengthy arguments to the court, the hearing was postponed to Tuesday for judgement.
Before proceedings began on Tuesday morning, Adams summoned both Van Vuuren and Heunis to her chambers, where discussions were held.
When the hearing started, Adams—instead of delivering the expected judgement in the application for a postponement—put the matter off to December 12 without explanation.
Neither Van Vuuren not Heunis would disclose to the media what was discussed in Adams’s chambers.
Booi told reporters that he would have gone to the High Court on appeal, had his application for a postponement been refused. He said it was crucial for the preparation of his own defence that the High Court case involving the travel agents reach finality first, before the start of his own trial.
Booi faces a single fraud charge, but it entails multiple transactions, involving R140 000. - Sapa
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