Pretoria - After a marathon trial which lasted more than two years, former SA Revenue Services (Sars) deputy commissioner Dr Mandisa Mokwena had her name cleared on more than 50 charges relating to tender fraud and money laundering, involving more than R11-million.
Mokwena, a former business partner of one of President Jacob Zuma’s wives, Thobeka Zuma, left Sars in 2009 under a cloud after disciplinary proceedings were going to be instituted against her.
Judge Sulet Potterill, sitting in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, on Tuesday said while the court may in certain of the instances not believe her version of the events, the state failed to prove its case against her beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mokwena, after hugging her advocate, rushed out of court and declined to speak to the media.
Her co-accused were meanwhile convicted on several of the charges - mostly on the fraud charges, while some were convicted on racketeering charges as well.
The allegations against her included that she, between September 2007 and up to the end of July 2009, in her capacity as general manager of Sars’s risk management division, in a “corrupt manner” ensured that training and research tenders were awarded to her former supervisor at Unisa, his wife and their companies.
This, it was said, was done in return for assistance with her doctoral studies at the University of Venda and other financial incentives.
According to the indictment Mokwena’s co-accused were all colleagues, associates friends or academic acquaintances of her.
They are Oludele Akinloye Akinboade, who was her external examiner, and who was also the director of the school of economics at Unisa, his wife Ashuma, another former Unisa employer Emile Djoumessi, who had meanwhile fled and for whom a warrant of arrest had been issued and Leslie Moonsamy, a former cost centre manager at Sars.