The fraud and theft case against the former executive mayor of JB Marks municipality, Kgotso Khumalo and two others was postponed to next month for further trial.
The three are facing eight charges of theft and fraud relating to the funeral of former North West Agriculture member of the executive council (MEC), Ndleleni Duma.
Khumalo, Mohau Shuping and Cyril Hendry appeared in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court sitting in Klerksdorp on Thursday.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the trial was postponed to September 14.
"The State called on the former chief financial officer to give testimony on the financial operations of the municipality and the action she took after discovering that police were investigating the trio," said NPA spokesperson in the North West division, Henry Mamothame.
He said the defence requested a postponement to prepare for cross-examination, and the State did not oppose it as the witness indicated that she is due for induction at her new job.
The State alleges that the North West University and the Programme for Community Development, paid millions into a trust account belonging to a 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," Mamothame said.
At 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.
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 (NGOs), 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.
Mamothame said 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.
The three are out on warning.