/ 30 November 2009

Evidence delays Mangaung racketeering case

The racketeering trial of former Mangaung mayor Pappie Mokoena, his wife and 18 others was postponed on Monday, so that 900 000 pages of evidence could be brought to Bloemfontein.

The High Court in Bloemfontein issued an order instructing the Free State police’s head of supply chain management, Director TV Rantsoareng, and the provincial head of the organised crime unit, Superintendent TA Posholi, to deliver the evidence by December 3.

The documents were at one stage moved to the VGM building in Silverton, Pretoria, but would now be needed when the defence start cross-examination in Bloemfontein.

Judge Albert Kruger postponed the case to next Monday, when cross-examination of the State’s first witness, KPMG forensic auditor Cornelius Fourie, would start.

Mokoena and his co-accused face a total of 259 charges including fraud, theft, corruption and money laundering involving an estimated R130-million.

The case follows an investigation by the now-disbanded Scorpions into the Mangaung local municipality in 2005.

Fourie has finished testifying in detail on transactions of various entities with the municipality, contained in a 600-page report compiled by KPMG.

Court proceedings thus far had been slow as the forensic report was supported by evidence of about 900 000 pages, contained in 25 lever-arch files, which were regularly referred to. It includes statements of the municipal bank account, those of various companies, copies of invoices, municipal memoranda, other documents and emails.

Most of the evidence was seized during raids by the Scorpions on the municipality and the accused’s addresses. — Sapa