Port Elizabeth - Disgraced former Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality communications director Roland Williams will learn his fate this week after he pleaded guilty to falsely claiming R100 000 from his insurance company for an accident that never happened.
Williams was back in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court on Monday for sentencing proceedings.
He was supported by his wife, Shanaaz. The couple raise four children together and the court heard about multiple charities the family are involved in.
The former communications boss, together with his co-accused V&R Motors, represented by widow Renika Rungan, pleaded guilty to insurance fraud in January this year.
Williams, along with Renika’s husband, Raven – who was shot dead in 2015 – defrauded Santam Limited through a combined insurance claim worth more than R115 000 in 2014. According to evidence before court, Williams and Rungan deliberately caused extensive damage to his BMW to put in a claim to defraud Santam after Williams experienced engine problems with his car.
On Monday, defence attorney Kuban Chetty told the court that Williams was aware that his actions were unscrupulous and he was not a model citizen.
"He is embarrassed, mortified and extremely remorseful for his actions," said Chetty.
He said that Williams was prepared to pay back the money and he could afford R2000 per month over a longer time period. He asked the court for leniency, to deviate from the minimum sentence of 15 years in jail and to instead impose a sentence of correctional supervision.
However, Magistrate Lionel Lindoor questioned why Williams did not start paying the money back immediately: "This is not a person who committed fraud out of need, this was fraud for a luxury vehicle. There was planning involved".
State Prosecutor, Theuns Goosen said that a guilty plea did not establish remorse and he had hoped Williams would change his mind and testify in the dock to explain himself.
Goosen also criticised Williams for not pleading guilty from the get go and said that he only admitted guilt after it became obvious that the State had a strong case.
Goosen said that insurance fraud was serious in that it affected the cost of insurance for policy holders, however, he did not ask for direct imprisonment and rather asked the court for a suspended sentence of 6 years, on the basis of substantial and compelling circumstances in Williams case.
Magistrate Lindoor said that he had thought that the State would ask for direct imprisonment and postponed the case to apply his mind on an appropriate sentence.
The case was postponed to Friday for sentencing.
African News Agency/ANA