Mike Mabuyakhulu corruption trial continues
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DURBAN - FORMER chief executive of the Economic Development and Tourism Department Bongani Shezi is expected to continue with his testimony in the corruption trial against ANC provincial deputy chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu in the Durban High Court on Monday.
Mabuyakhulu who was economic development and tourism MEC in 2012, is in the dock with 15 people, including their companies, for allegedly siphoning R28 million from the department.
His department had allegedly allocated the money for the North Sea Jazz festival which did not take place. The event was cancelled after an alleged disagreement with the concept owner from Switzerland. The companies that were involved in organising the event were allegedly paid.
Accused number one, Desmond Khalid Golding who was the department’s head, allegedly instructed Shezi to pay the money to the service providers even though the event was cancelled.
Shezi, who was the first State witness to be called last week, reportedly told the court that it was Golding who ordered him to release R28m to the service providers.
Of that amount, the State alleges that R300 000 was paid to Mabuyakhulu. It was paid into his account by one of the service providers who allegedly acted as a conduit for all other beneficiaries in the scandal.
Other people in the dock are Mabheleni Ntuli, Walter “Maqobhoza” Mkhize, Zandile Mbongwa, former Gagasi FM personality Nothando “Mamgo” Zungu, Brenda Ninela and Ntokozo Ndlovu.
Companies which belonged to the accused and were allegedly used to launder the money are Soft Skills Communications 100 CC, Shaka Holdings, Maqhoboza Traders CC, Ishashalazi Productions CC Super Size Investments CC. Ishinga Holdings and DMD Capital (PTY) Ltd.
The accused, including their companies, are facing corruption, fraud, theft and money laundering charges. They were arrested in 2018 and their assets have been attached by the Asset Forfeiture Unit.
Mabuyakhulu is represented by advocate Jimmy Howse. He is out on R50 000 bail.
He has temporarily stepped down from his position in honour of the ANC step-aside rule which the party adopted in March this year. Under the policy, all members who are facing serious crimes must step down from their public positions until the cases are finalised.
Mabuyakhulu also declined to go to the legislature after 2019 general elections and said he did not want to taint his party with corruption.