Port Elizabeth - The fraud and money laundering trial involving former Eastern Province Rugby boss, Cheeky Watson and his three co-accused will begin in July next year and has been set down for four weeks.
The case was called before the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Friday and was postponed for final instructions and a pre-trial conference.
Watson, Nadia Gerwel, a former assistant director in the metro’s finance department, Zeranza director Andrea Wessels and Mandisi Mkasa, a former director of Laphum’ilanga Transport Services, face charges of fraud and money laundering following a lengthy probe into alleged fraudulent activities involving around R12 million.
The money was meant for the coastal city's integrated public transport system (IPTS).
Watson and his co-accused handed themselves over to police in March this year. It is alleged that Wessels conspired with Gerwel to defraud the metro in a manner designed to give them unlawful access to IPTS funds.
The State alleges Gerwel and Wessels used an events management company, ESP Africa, as a vehicle to launder the money. But when that company was no longer viable they allegedly turned to Access Management, a company operating at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, and then to EP Rugby.
According to court papers, close to R3 million was laundered into the bank accounts of Access, EP Rugby and Zeranza – by means of Watson, Gerwel and Wessels acting in concert with one another. In 2007 National Treasury approved a budget of R208 million for the improvement of the IPTS system. The multi-million rand IPTS is regarded as the city’s biggest corruption scandal.
African News Agency