Accused in Mandela funeral fraud request judge Stretch to recuse herself

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Some of the accused in the Mandela Fraud Scandal have requested that Judge Igna Stretch recuse herself from the case. The defendants are charged with fraud, money laundering and contravention of the Municipal Finance Management Act relating to former President Nelson Mandela’s memorial services.

The accused –  include former Buffalo City Speaker Luleka Simon-Ndzele, former Mayor Zukiswa Ncitha, and former Deputy Mayor Themba Tinta, former Eastern Cape Health MEC Sindiswa Gomba and the Municipality’s former Supply Chain Manager – are consulting their legal teams on the matter and will submit the reasons for the demand for recusal.

Nelson Mandela funeral fraud scandal suspects in court:

Last week they also made representations to the Director of Public Prosecution for the case against them to be discontinued citing a lack of reasonable prospects for successful prosecution.  They are now represented by Legal Aid due to financial challenges.

The sitting judge is unhappy with the delays. Judge Igna Stretch says, “The issue the court is facing and it’s a very real issue is the delay and the commencement of the trial and as pointed out these proceedings can be stopped at anytime we cannot expect 12 accused to sit while you come up with ideas in the middle of the middle of the night.”

The state is opposing these applications. NPA Regional spokesperson Luxolo Tyali says, “One of our witnesses whose schedule is very busy with all these postponements. She has been ready and on standby. You can imagine how much inconvenience it is for a deputy minister to come to court every day and be told that the matter won’t be heard.”

The trial is scheduled to commence from this month until June. The application for the recusal of the sitting judge will be heard on Friday.