Cape Town - Cope's former parliamentary national treasurer appeared in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court, Cape Town, on Tuesday.
Hilda Ndude, 58, was not asked to plead to 23 counts of fraud, six of money laundering, and one of theft.
With her in the dock was her personal assistant in Parliament, Irene Motha, facing three fraud charges. She was also not asked to plead.
Cited in the charge sheet as accused number three is the company Sithaba Holdings, of which Ndude was one of the two directors. It is charged with three counts of money laundering.
According to the charge sheet, the Congress of the People has two main sources of funding: Parliament, pro rata to the number of seats that Cope occupies in Parliament; and the Independent Electoral Commission. Both sources consist of taxpayers’ money and each have to have their own bank accounts.
Ndude was the principal signatory for both accounts, together with Cope president Mosiuoa Lekota.
According to the charge sheet, Ndude was Cope’s financial political head and, as the national treasurer, had to ensure the transparent management of the party’s affairs.
Prosecutor Zama Matayi alleges that she and Motha manipulated Cope’s electronic system to divert payments meant for suppliers into their own personal bank accounts, between April 2010 and May 2011.
At the request of defence attorneys Ed Booth, representing Ndude and Sithaba Holdings, and Legal Aid lawyer Hayley Lawrence, acting for Motha, the case was postponed to February 3.
Both are out on warning.