Acquitted officials may sue state

2011-04-27 09:07

Two former top officials in Mpumalanga government are contemplating suing the government after they were acquitted on charges of soliciting a bribe from a company that was awarded a R30-million marketing and branding tender.

Former Mpumalanga director-general Advocate Stanley Soko and Mpumalanga Economic Empowerment Corporation chief executive Ernest Khosa have been attending the Nelspruit regional court since 2005 on charges of corruption, fraud and contravening the Public Finance Management Act.

Rainbow Kwanda was owned by Government Communication and Information Systems deputy chief executive and former City Press editor Vusi Mona and Kedebone Mashamaite.

Soko and Khosa were accused of soliciting a bribe of R1 million each from Rainbow Kwanda Communications – a company that was awarded the tender to handle the province’s marketing and branding in 2003.

Soko was also accused of making an “upfront payment” of R3.6 million to the company for having done no work.

Their lengthy trial ended yesterday afternoon with their acquittal.

The duo’s attorney, Gezani Maluleke, said today that they were going to explore how to sue the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The case was investigated by the elite unit the Scorpions before it was disbanded.

“Both my clients have not been employed for five years. Though Soko’s contract had ended when the case started, he couldn’t do anything with these allegations hanging over his head. Khosa’s case was even harder because all his assets were attached and he was placed under curatorship,” Maluleke said.

“This was malicious prosecution. We knew that there was no case and they were going to be acquitted. They had incurred legal costs of more than R1 million and lost a lot of money they could have received in salaries,” he added.

Said NPA spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga: “Naturally as prosecutors we are disappointed with any acquittal, however, we accept the judgment and have no intentions of appealing.”

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