Potchefstroom regional court has postponed fraud and corruption trial against former mayor of JB Marks Vanir-exodus Municipality Kgotso Khumalo because of his ill health.
The case against Khumalo and two others will now be heard on April 7, after a medical certificate was presented to the prosecutor proving his inability to attend the trial.
They face eight allegations of theft and fraud from municipal funds.
The trio who pleaded not guilty to the charges and received a warning have been warned not to interfere with state witnesses.
North West National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesman Henry Mamothame said North West University and the Program for Community Development would have deposited millions into a trust account of Willem Coetzee’s law firm for the council’s use of specific projects. .
Mamothame said Coetzee was then instructed to make several payments, including a contribution from the mayor’s committee of R208 000, for the funeral of the late MEC for Agriculture, Duma Ndleleni, who passed away on November 23, 2018.
He said on Oct. 12 last year that the state led its evidence in chief through its star witness, Coetzee van Willem Coetzee Advocaten, appointed by the JB Marks Vanir-exodus Municipality to administer its legal and financial mandates through a trust fund.
Mamothame said Coetzee testified about how Khumalo, as acting panel chairman, instructed him to make payments into different accounts on several occasions.
“He told the court that he had also been ordered to pay two sums of R35,000 to Kagisano Funerals for the same funeral, which the undertaker claims was never received.
“An additional R32,000 was allegedly paid to Roche Trading for a service rendered at the funeral. An amount of R210 000 was also cited as a form of payment to a law firm, Langford and Sons Projects (PTY) Ltd, for an Australian football tour undertaken by Henry.”
Mamothame said Coetzee also testified about how Khumalo instructed him to pay two non-governmental organizations (NGOs) an amount of R50,000 each, a loan that will be repaid.
He said it was also discovered that R200 000 had been paid directly into the account of one of the accused, of which R64 218 had been paid to an institution where Khumalo’s relative was a student
“Later, he got another account where he transferred an amount of R100,000 instead of R50,000 to each NGO. Coetzee told the court that after investigating this case, he has not been on the panel since.”
Mamothame said Coetzee is expected to be cross-examined by the defense team on his evidence when the trial begins.
The state plans to call more witnesses to prove that false bills were generated to make more fictitious payments in the process of defrauding and stealing money intended for community development in the JB Marks Vanir-exodus Municipality.