Rustenburg - The trial against former JB Marks mayor, Kgotso Khumalo charged with fraud and two others will resume in August.
Khumalo, Mohau Shuping, and Cyril Hendry are facing eight charges of theft and defrauding municipal funds, and they have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the matter has been postponed on several occasions to afford Shuping time to appoint and consult with a new legal representative after he terminated the services of his previous attorney.
“He has now reappointed the services of the same attorney he withdrew,” said NPA spokesperson in North West, Henry Mamothame.
“It is alleged that the North-West University and the Programme for Community Development, paid millions into a trust account belonging to Coetzee’s law firm, for the use of specific projects by the municipality.
“The attorney was then given instructions to effect various payments, including a R208 000 mayoral committee contribution, towards the funeral of the late MEC for Agriculture, Duma Ndleleni, who passed away in November 2018.”
He said during the start of the trial, the State led its evidence in chief by its key witness Willem Coetzee, who was introduced to the court as an attorney from Willem Coetzee Attorneys, a law firm that was a member of a panel of attorneys appointed by the JB Marks local municipality, to manage its legal and financial mandates through a trust fund.
Coetzee testified on how the accused instructed him, as the acting chairperson of the panel, to make payments in several accounts on different occasions.
“He told the court he was also instructed to pay two amounts of R35 000 to Kagisano Funerals, for the same funeral, which the funeral parlour alleges was never received. A further R32 000 was allegedly paid to Roche Trading, for services rendered at the funeral.
”An amount of R210 000, was also highlighted as a form of payment to a law firm, Langford and Sons Projects (PTY) Ltd for an Australian football tour that was undertaken by Hendry.“
He said it was, however, discovered that R200 000 was paid directly into the account of one of the accused, and from this, an amount of over R64 000 was paid to an institution where Khumalo’s relative was a student.
Coetzee also testified on how Khumalo instructed him to pay two non-governmental organisations (NGO), an amount of R50 000 each, which was a loan for repayment. He was later given a different account to which he transferred an amount of R100 000, instead of the R50 000 to each NGO.
Coetzee told the court that he has since stopped being a member of the panel, following investigations into this case.
“The state intends to call more witnesses to prove that false invoices were generated, to effect more fictitious payments, in the process of defrauding and stealing money meant for community development in the JB Marks local municipality,” Mamothame said.
The Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in Ventersdorp postponed the case to August 16 for further trial.
The three are out on warning and they were cautioned not to interfere with the state witnesses.