Sharika Regchand

BUSINESSMAN Jabulani Mabaso could be a free man if his application for a discharge succeeds in the Pietermaritzburg High Court next week.

Mabaso is on trial for allegedly defrauding the provincial education department of about R200 million between 2005 and 2007 by producing fake invoices, not passing on discounts, and radically increasing the price of stationery he was supplying to schools.

He was supposed to be charging the department only a management fee.

His advocate, Willie Vermeulen SC, told Acting Judge Kobus Booyens yesterday that he intended to bring the application next Thursday. If granted, it would mean Mabaso would be found not guilty.

If not, Mabaso could then either testify in his own defence or not.

Final arguments would then be heard, and the judge would make a final decision on whether or not he was guilty.