State land fraud kingpin guilty

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iol news pic Lady Justice by Mike Cogh Mike [email protected] File image

Johannesburg - A man has been found guilty on 94 counts of fraud relating to the sale of state land, the Gauteng human settlements department said on Thursday.

Richard Zikhali will be sentenced in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on Friday for illegally selling state land in Lenasia and Ennerdale, said spokesman Motsamai Motlhaolwa.

“The kingpin Richard Zikhali made admissions for his involvement in the crimes and he remains in custody after his arrest in 2010 for defrauding people of millions of rands through illegally selling state land,” Motlhaolwa said.

His wife, Hlengiwe Ximba, also pleaded guilty to corruption and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment, three of which were suspended.

Michael Magodola, who also faced 94 counts of fraud, was found not guilty due to admissions made by Zikhali.

Meanwhile, Aaron Mkhabela, who allegedly posed as a department official, will also appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Friday, for allegedly trying to sell RDP houses and flats in Lehae and Mzimhlope in Johannesburg.

Mkhabela was arrested during a sting operation by the department's anti-fraud and corruption unit, provincial directorate of Priority Crimes Investigation (DPCI) and the Hawks, after a tip-off from prospective buyers in February.

“A complaint was lodged... by the prospective buyer after she paid an amount of R1300 to the suspect in exchange for an RDP house,” Motlhaolwa said.

He appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on February 10 and was granted bail.

In a separate matter, two men were arrested by the department's anti-fraud and corruption unit and the Hawks in July, for their alleged involvement in the illegal sale of state-owned land in Lenasia.

“The two suspects were arrested as they were trying to sell state land in the area to the Hawks investigators,” Motlhaolwa said.

David Mofokeng, known as “Lepolisa”, and Thabo Moloi were released on R5000 bail after they appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.

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