In a bid to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, the National Prosecuting Authority has formally charged the former head of the North West Transport Department, Bailey Mahlakoleng, and three others.
The four appeared in court on Friday and were released on bail ranging from 35 000 Rand to 500 000 Rand. Former SA Express commercial manager, Tebogo van Wyk, Nothando Dube and Sipho Phiri are facing schedule 5 charges, relating to alleged corrupt activities and fraud.
It was in 2014, when a contract aimed at resuscitating commercial flights, at the Pilanesberg and Mahikeng Airports was initiated. The contract, valued at 400 Million Rand, was awarded to SA Express. Allegations of fraud, money laundering and corruption then followed.
Millions of rands were allegedly paid although no work was done. Following evidence presented to the Zondo Commission, recommendations were made for criminal charges to be pursued. Lengthy investigations ensued, and now the NPA believes it has a water-tight case.
NPA provincial spokesperson Henry Mamothame claims they have gathered sufficient proof.
“We believe we’ve accumulated reasonable evidence to bring the accused persons and the three companies that they allegedly used to steal this money to court. We believe investigators have done a great job and we confident when we drew the charge sheet and indictment for this matter to come and stand before court,” he said.
“This is the first phase of this matter, further investigations are conducted and we’re not ruling out the possibility of more people being arrested,”
The accused are faced with 34 counts and more charges might be added. Magistrate Ravana Jacobs explains.
“The matter is postponed to the first day of December, at Mabatho court ,in the morning for the authorization from the NDPP in respect of the racketeering and centralisation application, also possible transfer to the high court,”
Prior to this, the defence was not happy with the bail amounts set for Van Wyk, Dube and Phiri. Their legal representative is Pacha Ngandwe.
“The manner in which the amounts are proposed, pre-supposes from the well-known constitutional rights of the accused person that they should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, it appears the state is of a view, because there is an alleged amount of 51 Million rand involved in this matter, all be it , not having been proven, therefore accused must be punished to buy his liberty, “said Ngandwe.
The accused have been ordered to not influence witnesses, hand over their passports, and contact investigating officers should there be any changes in their residential addresses.