The Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court which is hearing the fraud case against Portia “Pankie” Sizani. PHOTO: Raahil Sain/ANA

Port Elizabeth - The R1.2 million fraud case against Portia “Pankie” Sizani, wife of former African National Congress (ANC) chief whip in Parliament Stone Sizane, was on Friday once again postponed in the Port Elizabeth Commercial Crimes Court. 

Sizani faces charges of fraud and money laundering but was not at court for proceedings. 

The matter was postponed pending a decision from the Grahamstown High Court around the ruling made by Magistrate Mputumi Mpofu to dismiss a recusal application brought by Sizani's defence team.

Following the recusal dismissal, defence advocate Johan Wessels filed papers for a review at the Grahamstown High Court.

At the time, they said that Mpofu could be biased as his wife worked for the education department. 

However, Mpofu said his wife had stopped working for the department in 2013.

The application was dismissed in November last year.

In February last year, Portia Sizani was found not guilty on five of the 15 counts of money laundering against her. However, she still faces 16 counts of fraud and 10 counts of money laundering.

According to the State, Sizani allegedly defrauded 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 (ECD) district co-ordinator at the time she allegedly appointed “ghost teachers” and pocketed their pay during 2009 and 2010.

The ECD programme provides for the appointment of Grade R teachers at Eastern Cape schools.

The case was postponed until February 16 next year.

African News Agency