Port Elizabeth - An application made to have Portia “Pankie” Sizani, discharged on the remainder of fraud and money laundering charges against her was dismissed on Friday.
Sizani, wife of former African National Congress (ANC) chief whip in Parliament, Stone Sizani, appeared back in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court before Magistrate Mputumi Mpofu, who said in dismissing the application that he had weighed State evidence and found it was not such that it could not be relied on.
The application in terms of Section 174 states that if, at the close of the prosecution’s case, the court believed there was no evidence that the accused committed the offence concerned, it could return a verdict of not guilty.
Earlier this year Sizani was found not guilty on five of the 15 counts of money laundering against her. The five counts Sizani was acquitted on relate to witnesses that could not be traced.
Following Mpofu’s judgement, Sizani still has 16 counts of fraud and 10 counts of money laundering against her.
She is accused of defrauding the Eastern Cape Education Department out of more than R1.2 million by processing several fraudulent applications for Grade R teaching posts.
Sizani was the Early Childhood Development district co-ordinator at the time she allegedly appointed “ghost teachers” and pocketed their pay during 2009 and 2010.
The ECD provides for the appointment of Grade R teachers at Eastern Cape schools.
In giving his judgement, Mpofu stated that both the defence and the state had extensively analysed the reliability of state witnesses.
“I have noted carefully the evidence of the state witnesses, my detailed analysis will be divulged in my judgement, however I am convinced after looking at their evidence collectively, I have come to a conclusion that it is not of such a poor quality that it cannot be relied on.”
“It has some flaws but it has not been reduced to no evidence. I further gave myself time to interrogate evidence collectively and I found that they are inevitably and explicitly intertwined,” said Mpofu.
The case was postponed until November 21.
African News Agency