Businessman must pay R3m back to keep suspended sentence
Share this article:
Pretoria - The 10-year prison sentence of prominent, influential Mpumalanga businessman Senyane Alton Seropane Mphethi, suspended for 5 years, rests on condition he pays back R3 million of fraudulent monies.
A condition imposed on the former unionist, 55, was that he makes the first installment, of R50 000, in just under a week.
The former Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) president must make the payment on or before August 30, in the case dating back to 2014.
His two companies, Ngwato and Barudi, were fined R100 000 each. The Asset Forfeiture Unit was also involved.
Mphethi was fired as PAC president in December 2014, arrested and sentenced to eight years in jail for defeating the ends of justice for being an accomplice in a murder case.
He was PAC president from April to May 2014. When he joined the PAC, Mphethi was hailed as a traditionalist. The Mpumalanga PAC said: “There was a tendency among traditional leaders to sell land; he was concerned people would become poorer – as a traditional leader he was aware of this practice.”
Among his business responsibilities before the jailing, Mphethi had a contract with the Mpumalanga Department of Education to transport school children around Gert Sibande District Municipality.
“He submitted duplicate claims to the department, changing the invoice numbers and dates when submitting the claims. “The department suffered a loss of R830 000 on the first entity, and R1 997 964 on the second one,” police spokesperson Captain Dineo Lucy Sekgotodi said.
The matter was reported to the Hawks, and the accused was arrested by the Mpumalanga Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team in 2015. “This led to his conviction on 34 counts of fraud by the Ermelo Regional Court on July 31.”
Serope said that on Friday Mphethi was sentenced to 10 years in jail, wholly suspended for five years on condition that he pays R3 million.
Among his political posts, Mphethi was a member of the portfolio committee on land reform of the National Assembly, for a year from June 2014; an alternate portfolio committee member on justice and correctional services and of defence and military veterans as well as the portfolio committee on communications, and an MP.