Former NW Finance MEC Wendy Nelson acquitted on fraud charges
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Rustenburg: The North West High Court has acquitted former North West Finance MEC Wendy Nelson and former North West health head of department Dr Andrew Lekalakala on charges of fraud, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said.
"The state welcomes the judgment. However, a thorough study of the judgment will be undertaken. This process will afford the state time to make an informed decision to establish if there is a need for further action," NPA spokesperson in North West Henry Mamothame said.
The two were found not guilty on a charge of fraud related to the appointment of Lekalakala to the position of superintendent-general in the department of health.
Nelson was chairing the panel during the interview.
"The State’s case was that Nelson had knowledge of Lekalakala’s misrepresentation on the job application form but, went on to recommend him for this senior position to the then premier of the North West province, Supra Mahumapelo. The court, however, found them not guilty on this count," Mamothame said.
Nelson was arrested in August 2019, following investigations by the Hawks on allegations of an irregular appointment of a senior official in the health department during 2014.
Lekalakala handed himself over to the police in August 2019.
He and Nelson were released on R20 000 bail each.
The State alleged that Lekalakala, who is a medical doctor, lied about his qualifications and did not qualify for the position.
It further charged that Nelson had knowledge of Lekalakala’s misrepresentation in his CV but went on to recommend him for the position. She also allegedly failed to disclose the misrepresentation to Mahumapelo.
The fraud reportedly cost the government about R8 million which Lekalakala received as remuneration as superintendent-general at the department of health.
The ANC in the North West said it welcomed the judgment.
"Cde Wendy was appointed as a member of the ANC IPC (Interim Provincial Committee) in August 2019. She stepped aside from leadership responsibilities earlier this year following her arrest.
"The ANC commends Cde Wendy for her discipline and co-operation at a time when the organisation enjoined her to step aside from her leadership responsibilities, so that she can clear her name," spokesperson Kenny Morolong said.
"In the light of this judgment, the IPC officials will formally engage Cde Wendy Nelson with a view of reincorporating her into our formal structures. We wish to reaffirm our confidence in the ability of the courts to dispense justice without fear, favour or prejudice," he said.