KZN MEC, speaker in court

2011-08-01 07:55

KwaZulu-Natal’s economic development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu and the province’s speaker Peggy Nkonyeni have arrived at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates Court for their first appearance.

Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni were expected to appear in court today to face fraud charges, City Press reported yesterday.

According to reports, the two were on Thursday fingerprinted, charged and warned to appear in court.

Among senior ANC leaders who accompanied the two, were ANC provincial deputy chairman, Willies Mchunu, and many of the party’s provincial executive committee members.

Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni face fraud and corruption charges relating to a R1-million “donation” paid by South American businessman Gaston Savoi to the ANC in 2007 in exchange for a R45 million government tender.

Normal tender processes were allegedly bypassed to award a tender to Savoi’s company Intaka, to supply water purification plants to hospitals and clinics in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mabuyakhulu was the ANC’s provincial treasurer and Nkonyeni was the health MEC when the deal was concluded. Mabuyakhulu is now a member of the ANC provincial executive and Nkonyeni is the provincial treasurer of the ruling party.

The two were expected to appear in court alongside Mzila, former KZN health department head Ronald Green-Thompson, Savoi, former KZN treasury boss Sipho Shabalala, his wife Ntombi, and others.

According to the Sunday Times, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has denied claims that KZN premier Zweli Mkhize, the highest-ranking official implicated in the case, had turned State witness in exchange for indemnity from prosecution.

“There is no section 204 witness in that case,” the paper quoted NPA head Menzi Simelane saying, referring to the Criminal Procedure Act.

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